1964-08-03 - Aliens and Fireballs
Summary: Johnny in a bar with an alien bartender
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
johnny-storm mike-matthews 

Thursday night is not the busiest night at the restaurant, but there are several groups of diners here and there around the room, tucked in and enjoying the food that the Stonewall Inn Restaurant has to offer. At the small bar, Mike fills drink orders for the servers that come by and the one older gentleman with his newspaper who has been warming the stool for the past several hours. Every so often he tosses the bottles around, entertaining himself more than anything else. There are a lot of things on earth he is not good at — booze, however, is pretty universal, and he's good with booze.

There's some people who blend in, some people who no one notices. Johnny is not one of those people. It's not that he's in a uniform, because he isn't; its not that he looks like a freak (that's Ben), he doesn't. In fact he might draw more then a few stares on that alone. No, Johnny draws attention primarily for two reasons: one, he's famous. The Human Torch. Former professional racecar driver, current professional stunt driver. But, two, its just a function of magnetic charisma. He has a grin the moment he steps in and makes eye-contact with someone, and he just knows he's the sort of guy that's the center of attention. Of course, both those things have a tendency to turn his fame into notoriety about half the time — but Johnny doesn't mind. He's wearing a tight, fitted teal t-shirt and a pair of jeans — they might as well be a second set of skin. He shakes his head with a smile at the server, "I'll sit at the bar for awhile, love." And then he heads over to that bar, settling into a stool and flashing his best grin at the bartender, "What's up?" he greets with a casual ease, "House specialty is…?"

Mike Matthews doesn't particularly stand out. He's a good looking guy with an easy smile and a casual sort of confidence, but he's not famous, not here anyway. Here, he's Mike, the bartender, and while he takes pride in the artistry of his mixology, he has been living a mostly low-key existance. Sure, sometimes things happen and he's not terribly good at concealing it all the time but, hey, what're you going to do? He grins in return when Johnny takes a seat and he passes ovr the bar menu, lists off the house wines as well as a couple of drink specials. "Quiet night," and then after a moment there's a flicker of recognition. "You're the Human Torch. I've seen you on television." The fact that everyone else has is inconsequential.

Johnny nods his head slightly, taking in the recognition without being obnoxious about it; it's expected, and though he's cocky, he's not arrogant. There's a fine line of difference. He sets aside the menu, though. He does offer a hand, "That'd be me— but only in uniform. Out of uniform, I'm Johnny Storm." If the hand is taken, his grip is firm— and his skin is fever-hot. At least four or five degrees over what any hand has business being— all without sweating in the least. Dry, slightly calloused and firm. But he grins again, "I don't like menu's. Surely there's something not on the menu that would be interesting?" There's a hint of teasing and challenge in his tone.

Mike Matthews reaches out and takes the offered hand, giving it a firm shake, perhaps a little too firm because he's not paying attention at first, and then easing up when he realizes it. "Mike Matthews," he introduces himself. "So you use two different names even if you don't conceal who you are? I thought the point was to keep people from knowing who you are. Like the glasses." He then turns back toward the bar and grabs a couple of bottles, looking thoughtful, then reaches for a lime and an orange. He begins whistling a little bit while he prepares the drink. Johnny is getting whatever he just decided to make.

"It's a branding thing." explains Johnny, though there's a faint wince at the grip, "The Fantastic Four. I get why most mutants and other meta-humans and aliens go about doing the codenames to hide identities— that wasn't available to us. When the radiation storm hit our space capsule, there was a live transmission going on." There's a warm, deep laugh suddenly, "And once I learned to turn the fire off, I was naked." He grins wider, "Yes, I received the thank-you cards with all due modesty." More soberly he adds, "But, yeah. Its a branding issue. Mister Fantastic, the Human Torch, the Invisible Woman, the Thing. The Fantastic Four. The names make us larger then life: it helps bring attention to our work and the work of the Future Foundation. We want attention— and not for ego reasons— where I understand why others don't. We're in a position most people aren't. For one thing, Reed is rich and the security at Baxter is second to none. We're also white and most of us guys— though people who underestimate my sister are fools the likes of which … are not worth giving a shit about." He flashes another grin, while he watches the drink making curiously.

There's a slight furrow of Mike's brow at the mention of branding. "You are branded? I've known some cultures where that's common but I've only seen it done with livestock." He talks while he continues to put together the drink, a bit of the fruit juices, a bit of this, a bit of that. What is set down in front of Johnny has a smooth, almost honey-like gold flavor to it finished off with a bit of a citrus kick at the end. What's in it? Who knows. "Ah, so there were witnesses to who you were from the beginning. That makes sense. But.." he pauses, "You know aliens? Here, in the city?" He leans back against the counter and waits to see what Johnny thinks of the drink, arms folded in front of him as he makes a study of the man.

There is a pause, and Johnny eyes Mike: and when he decides he's not being made fun of (which wouldn't offend him, just change tact), he blinks and he shakes his head. "Branding. Its.. A brand. Marketing. To have a brand is to have a name of a quote-unquote 'product' that people want. Things serve the brand if its brand is more known— things don't serve a brand if they give that brand a bad reputation. Its like… Fame. But managed professionally, more or less." He lifts up the strange honey-elixir and without any hesitation takes a long, slow swig. Its not a gulp: but its not a sip. Its something meant to maximize how much his tongue and the alcohol have contact so he can get a good, serious think on about it. "Huh. That's… interesting." He laughs softly, before adding, "Better to say I know *of* aliens. But I don't ask people to classify themselves — are you 'mutant', 'alien', 'magical construct' or 'other'. I just accept what they *do* instead. That said I do know aliens exist and are for good and ill active." He blinks at Mike a moment then, "Wait, you know who I am but don't know of the Incident? Yeah. The Four all got our abilities in a very public way. Being covert was never an option for me." He shrugs, "Also I suck at covert."

Mike Matthews doesn't appear to be making fun as he seems genuinely perplexed. He doesn't look any more enlightened at the idea of marketing but he nods along as though that makes perfect sense. He'll figure it out later. Like why rootbear floats don't float. Thanks to Lara for the clarification on that one. The reaction to the drink seems to be sufficient for Mike who takes interesting to be a compliment. He seems to consider this for a moment or two and says, "I'm not very good at covert either. I can understand why some do it — they have people to protect. But I don't have any people here, so I'm not entirey sure why it matters." He's been trying to sort this question out for a while now. He then moves off for a moment to fill a couple of drink orders from one of the servers, setting the glasses off to the side for pickup before returning.

Waiting for Mike to return, Johnny only then looks at the menu: and when a server comes by, he orders loaded fries. At the bartender's return, and once the server is out of ear shot, he tilts his head and grins. "Not good at covert means you've a need to convert?" he ventures, with quite a bit of interest evident, "And sure. People have… people to protect. Like I said, I get it. Me, my only family is my sister and she's more then capable of defending herself. I admit, in her case, 'The Invisible Woman' was not that good of a brand: it both undersells and just distracts from what she's capable of." But he shrugs, and takes another long drink of the honey-colored drink, "What is this?" he asks curiously,.

"I've been told I'm supposed to, but I'm still not sure that I really understand the purpose, at least personally. I don't mind it. I'm still trying to figure out who I am here, and Mike's not a bad name as names go. But if I walked over to that man over there," he gestures to the man with his newspaper at the far end of the bar, "And I said, Hi, I am Mon-El, former Prince of Daxam.. he is going to look at me blankly. I'm not on the television or in the news, and your people have no knowledge of my planet. So telling them I am Mike doesn't seem to make much difference." There's absolutely no guile to him whatsoever, none. Then he pauses and asks, "What is she capable of? Is she not invisible?"

Johnny absorbs this with a casual nod, and serious look, though 'my planet' causes him to give a frank look over Mike to see if he missed any arms while checking him out: nope. Just the two. Huh. There's a long silence as he works through implications and various conflicting thoughts, "Well. If you aren't the most handsome alien I've seen yet." is his first comment with a wry grin, but then he shrugs half a shoulder, "You should. Be covert, I mean. There's a cost to not: for everyone who wants to get into my pants because I'm famous there's one or two who spit at me if I walk by. This isn't a welcoming world — and aliens are a touchy subject. We're a stupid people who despise most of our planet who do not have the benefit of being white males— which fortunately, apparently, people of your planet can appear to be. The resemblance is remarkable— I'm sure Reed would have a lot to say on that." He tilts back the drink, finishing it with a long gulp and nudging it towards Mike with a conspiratorial grin, "As for my sister, Highness: Invisibility is the least of her power, but I won't share her secrets. I haven't decided if I should set you up with her or not." And with that, he winks.

"It's interesting," Mike says as he leans back against the bar. "I was surprised as well, to find that you look like Daxamites, and Kryptonians for that matter. I've seen many planets with a wide vareity of species and the similarities are.. eerie." He studies Johnny for a moment or two and then shrugs, apparently not seeing a problem with the uncanny resemblances. "Your people seem a lot more preoccupied with fighitng one another than anything else, it seems. You're not very advanced. At least so far as I can tell your transportation is primitive at best." He reaches out to take the glass and then asks "Another? Something different?" He can't help but smirk a little at that last. "You mentioned her capabilities twice, yourself. Hence the curiosity. Far be it for me to poke into your sister's secrets. I've only just met you." There's a flash of a grin over his shoulder as he turns to pour once more.

"I'm not a scientist." warns Johnny, "That's Reed's place. But it seems to me if there's a commonality of form across planets, there might be something that's evolutionarily advantageous to that form that isn't specific to a local planetary environment." Despite warning he's not a scientist, he is clearly educated. But he nods then, "It's true, we're keen on fighting eachother. For nation, for race, for creed. As for advanced?" he shrugs, "I don't know about that. But … the technology the Four has available is … beyond that of what everyone else can do. Case in point." He reaches into his back pocket and pulls out a wallet— a wallet with a zipper. His hand bursts into flame then— which likely draws some looks he ignores— and he holds it for a long moment before the flame vanishes and the wallet (that looks leather) is just… there. "Don't ask me to explain the 'unstable molecules' of Reed's, they are what they are. No one else has a material science comparable." The wallet is slipped away then. He waves at the drink, "Another—something. Whatever you think would be interesting. Same, different, I leave it to you." He grins, "And oh, I don't mind saying people underestimate her. But how, oh, that's another matter. What of you, Mon-El? Do you turn into water? Please tell me you don't turn into water. Water and me don't mix."

Mike Matthews isn't a scientist either, and so he seems content to nod mildly at the explanation, taking it for what it's worth — entirely plausible to him, anyway. His education was largely in other arenas. He does watch though, both as the wallet comes out and Johnny's hands literally go up in flames. It does earn a look or two from those around the restaurant, particularly those dining nearby. "Dinner and a show," Mike says to them with a wave of a hand, "Tip your waitress." Then he's mixing and putting together another drink entirely, something different this time. The dark amber drink served over a pair of icecubes has a rich almost carmael flavor with a hint of a vanilla that almost tastes "toasted" rather than sweet. This one's much stronger than the first. He laughs then and sets the glass down, "No, I don't turn into anything. I'm just strong, fast, more resilient. I can absorb energy. But I can't turn into anything, or fly, or light myself on fire or anything like that."

There's another long, but slow drink: Johnny doesn't do anything by halves, so if he's going to try something he's going to *seriously try* it. But he nods with far more appreciation then the last— not that he didn't like the last. Deep voiced he nods, grinning, "Now this is much closer to my style. Does it have a name? I don't mind sweet, don't get me wrong, but hard and smokey is a whole lot more my number." He laughs softly, not paying any attention at all to those who paid attention to his hand on fire. But more softly he nods, "Sounds useful, though the lack of flight, man, I feel sorry for you. To just burn and fly— its amazing." His expression becomes almost… *almost* innocent…as his eyes go half lidded, "Free from everything but thrust and gravity. Burning and then falling free to burn again." He shakes his head to clear it of the thought, "But I'm no stronger nor faster then any man as in as good a shape as I am, so I can't deny some envy." That envy being entirely a social construct: his voice has nothing actually envious in it. "Still, Mikey. Welcome to Earth. You have any interest in trying out your limits, I can invite you over to Baxter and putting you through the hoops? Just because we're the Four doesn't mean we don't have more then four on our team. Marketing."

Sometimes it takes a few tries to figure out just what notes to hit to find someone's drink, and when Johnny seems to appreciate this particular combination, Mike makes a mental note of it. Grinning, he says, "Yeah I could tell. The first one's safe. Lots of people like it. But I had a feeling you'd like this one better." He says, "I can jump pretty far.. really far, but it's nothing like flying, no." He pauses to listen to Johnny, that grin growing a little bit as he listens, "Sounds pretty amazing." He can't deny that. Flight would be cool. He grins at the welcome and then says, "Sure, why not? It'd be nice to actually not hold back for once."

"I have never been a man for safe." remarks Johnny wryly, shaking his head, "But hey, jumping far isn't all that different. Sure, flying doesn't *end*, but the sensation of surging against gravity…then falling to it. The shifting perspective is exciting." He sighs a moment, though its almost content sounding. But he waves a hand, "Careful about the not holding back part, though. Ben can take almost anything anyone can put out: try to punch Jello-Man and its just not effective. Sue, well. Not worried. But with *me*." Johnny laughs, "I have nothing even remotely like a heightened endurance or ability to withstand getting hit in the nose. To be frank and honest, your handshake hurt a bit." He shrugs, indifferent. Pain is not a thing that bothers him. He's sharing information. "I have three states. State number one…" He gestures at himself, "I'm a lover, not a fighter. I have many, many interesting skills here. But there's durability concerns. State number two, I bleed fire out of my skin, fly, and all that is impressive and all, but you hit me in the head? Bad day for me. State three, I am fire. Someone tries to hit me and their hand melts when it goes through me. But, still, no speed, no strength, no actual durability." He doesn't seemt o mind his lacks. Its just curious.

"Sorry," Mike apologizes, looking genuinely sheepish for a moment. "I usually remember to be careful but I was, admittedly, a little surprisd to see you here." He gestures to the restaurant, in a kind of vague encompassing gesture. "I more meant testing out how fast I can go, that sort of thing. I didn't plan on punching anyone unless they wanted to test out that sort of training." He nods then when Johhnny describes his separate states, having perhaps caught sight of some of the footage of Johnny during some heroics or another on TV to have at least seen the fire at one point or another. "I have just the one. This is me, all the time."

"We're good with testing." agrees Johnny with a nod, and then, he goes silent as fries come, and he noms on one and another and another before everyone is out of hearing and he continues in his faux-covert voice, "After we got hit by the radiation and… changed, Reed got it into himself to be big on testing and evaluating our various limits. And since our limits are— distinctly— nothing like anyone elses or even ourselves, we're good at testing random people." He waves away the apology though, "You didn't break anything. Its not entirely unusual— though also not usual— for me to break a bone in my day job, outside my Future Foundation save-the-world work. A bruise here or there in a handshake is nothing at all." But then he eyes Mike with a long look, and he grins, "I doubt anyone would complain about what you have, anytime. The one looks perfectly satisfactory." To an earthling, the flirtation would be obvious and wildly inappropriate if not scandalous, but that might very well not register the same. Then again, when you're the Human Torch, you forget inhibitions.

Mike Matthews nods his head and then leaves Johnny to his fries for a bit while he takes care of some drinks for other tables, setting them out for the servers. The man at the end of the bar calls it a night and clears out, leaving the pair mostly to themselves over at the bar. He cleans up a bit while he listens, glancing over every so often to nod. "Well, not everyone is used to being bruised," he chuckles. The flirtation is obvious enough, though on Daxam, it would have been perfectly acceptable, and so Mike doesn't seem scandalized at all. Instead, he just flashes another one of those confident smiles, "Well, I've never had any complaints before. But you know, different time, different place. You're pretty hot, yourself." Nope, he so couldn't resist.

Johnny can't help but laugh, even as he rolls his eyes, "You must know that I have heard that one before." He does grin though and gives a bit of a shrug, but he sobers up metaphorically speaking and considers the alien for a long moment, "So, what brings you to our little backward rock? I assume any species who is capable of interstellar travel has to be significantly more advanced then us. I imagine visiting Earth might be like going to a barely developed third-world country. There has to be a story behind that."

"Of course. I'd be shocked if you didn't," Mike admits with a flash of a grin. "But you laughed anyway." And that did seem to be the purpose, after all, so, mission accomplished. He turns to pour a couple more drinks, but the dinner crowd is beginning to dwindle and the call for his attention is growing less frequent as the night draws onward. This isn't a night club hot spot, after all. When Johnny asks about what brought him to earth, however, he becomes a little bit more serious. "The sister planet to my own exploded. My own was badly damaged, and I was forced to escape. But something went wrong, and I was caught, out of time and space. It crashed, upstate, about a month and a half ago or so. Landing here was an accident. Though something about the trajectory must have been just right. I've found at least one other from the sister planet to mine since arriving here. As far as I know, my world is dead. It's possible that others may have crashed here as well, but if they have, they're likely .. being covert, as well, which will make it hard to find them if they are here at all."

Johnny was expecting something like space-tourism, or a runaway or something, but— "… Ookay, that …" He shakes his head slowly, sober and serious, "That's a whole lot more depressing then I was expecting. I thought like at owrst some sort of refugee from a coup attempt with the 'former prince' thing… Man. I am not quite sure how to formulate a sentence that conveys the magnitude of sympathy for a planet dying on you." He blinks slowly and runs a hand through his hair, wincing, "But, sorry to hear that is the best I can do. Welcome to Earth, though."

Mike Matthews's expression had grown somewhat grimm, but he smiles faintly at the sympathy and says, "It's difficult to be the Prince of a world that no long exists, and a people who may or may not have survived, scattered, wherever they might be. Those who were offworld are still out there somewhere. But," he shakes his head. "There's been no response to my beacon. If there was someone out there to respond, they haven't yet." He gestures with both hands then to the bar in a kind of encompassing gesture, "So, here I am, doing what I know." He smiles again, a little bit more of one than before. "Thanks. I'm still trying to learn a lot about this world. Like the fact that rootbeer floats do not actually float — it was not that I was making them incorrectly." He then chuckles, "Usually I just tell people I got tired of working in the lumberyard and wanted to the see the city. It's a less depressing story, and also true."

"Wait… you set off a beacon?" Johnny winces visible, "As a citizen of Earth, I don't mind at all that you're here but I hope you aren't bringing a bunch of warships by. We've had… trouble, lately. I'm sure your people are all nice and not the conquering kind but… beacons make me a little nervous." He hesitates, then shrugs, and digs into some fries, "Then again if I was maybe the last of my kind I'd go looking for more, too." He arches his brow at the lumberyard mention and can't help but grin, "I can absolutely not picture you working in a lumberyard— from the whole long time I've known you— but, hm. I *can* picture you with an axe chopping some kindling and that is not at all an unpleasant thought."

"Well, admittedly, I wasn't really thinking about your world at the time. I was in a tree, disoriented, and just wanted to take a shower and have someone come pick me up and get me out of here," Mike says somewhat unapologetically. "Since then, I've come to realize that perhaps bringing others here could cause some potential problems — but, as I said, there's been no response. I don't think anyone is coming." He lifts a hand and waves to a couple of regulars as they make their way out. Then he looks back over toward Johnny and says, "I'm capable of manual labor. Just because I never had to do it doesn't mean that I don't know how." He smirks. "Besides, it was for the family that pulled me out of the tree. I owed them a debt for their kindness." He does laugh a little bit though, that grin broadening. "Can you?" He nods toward the glass in front of Johnny and then asks, "Another?"

"Well, that's fair." Johnny admits with a wry grin, "If I had a beacon and found myself in a mysterious tree I'd probably set the bacon off without thinking about the consequences." He nods at the offer of the drink with a broader grin, "Oh, everyone is capable of manual labor. Its more the flannel shirt I'm having difficulty with: and you can't go around shirtless if you're working at a lumberyard. That said being shirtless is ideal for when cutting kindling." But more seriously, he eats some fries, "I admit I'm a little surprised that a prince knows how to *bartend*. I would have just assumed you had someone else to mix your drinks."

"The flannel, I am told, is not mandatory. Besides, it's summer and it's hot. Why would you wear flannel in this weather?" He sets about mixing another of that same toasted caramel-infused type drink as he continues to talk. It takes only a moment or two to prepare before he sets the glass down in front of Johnny and then he laughs. "Oh, we had people to do that, but it's something I liked to do at my own parties, spend time behind the bar mixing up drinks for each of my friends, trying to figure out just what would appeal to them. It was as much a game and an entertainment as it was an art form. It wasn't really work, it was just part of my enjoyment of the evening. I had to learn all of the different alcohols and mixers that you have here on earth.. and believe me, I got fantastically drunk during that learning process. But this.. this feels a little bit like home. And it helps pay the rent, and gas for the bike. People frown on just running around really fast, I've heard."

Johnny eyes Mike for a long moment, amused, "Do I look like the kind of man who has ever— ever in his life— wore flannel? I can't tell you for sure I've ever touched it— besides to get it off of someone for recreational purposes—" He laughs, "So I'm not entirely clear on the properties of flannel." He grins and lifts the new drink up, and takes a long, slow drink again, curious. "Mmm, okay you can make a living out of this." he agrees, "But as for clothes, the last few years I have two kinds of outfits. My basics and special occassion clothes. The latter are expendable: emergency happens and a naked Johnny is burning through the sky. Its a little awkward." He then chuckles, "I have a friend who is perhaps the fastest person on the planet: I don't know if he has a car, actually."

"It's warm," Mike says, as one who has in fact seen flannel and decided that it was not for him, at least certainly not in this climate. He chuckles and says, "Yes, all the thank you letters — you'd mentioned." There's clear amusement in his eyes. Then he says, "I had a great deal of clothing on Daxam. There were particular clothes to be worn for almost every occasion." He shrugs his shoulders and says, "Now, I have my work clothes and my casual clothes. Common people have much less to concern themselves with when it comes to clothing, I have found. My only difficulty is that my body can by far withstand more punishment than my clothing, so enough wear and tear and it suffers as well."

Johnny pauses, and tilts his head, "Hm." He waves away a thought, "First, don't think so much about this common thing. You'll find here, clothes matter, a great deal. Appropriate fashion— or trending fashion— is a big deal. More for women then men: men's fashion hasn't advanced as much and may never do so. But still, this outfit?" He gestures, "Inappropriate half the places I go: that I can get away with it is because I'm Johnny Storm. Bucking trends and breaking rules is part of brand and story." He grins, "But as to your problem… I might be able to help you with that." He pauses, "No, not me, but I might be able to introduce you to Reed. This shirt? Can withstand me going nova— think, a million degrees. I don't know how it works exactly but somehow it interacts with my physiology. His outfits…stretch almost infiniately, mine burn, Sue's turn invisible, Ben, well. He's a walking, talking rock garden." He rolls his eyes, "Something like his pants might be of use to you."

Mike Matthews looks down at his clothing which is, pretty much standard for those working in the restaurant when he works — a pair of dark slacks, a white pressed shirt, though rolled up a bit at the elbows for working at the bar, but otherwise fairly standard fare. "I was told these are common clothes, working clothes, expected. I match the others who work here. It seems to be the standard uniform. Honestly, I've found the clothing not to be so problematical. One of my co-workers helps me pick things out. She introduced me to the uniform."

"Oh, this is a casual place." Johnny grins and shakes his head, "You look fine— good even. The clothes start mattering in fancy places. There's this club I like, Lux? Hey, actually, I think you'd love the place. It has the most unusual drinks on the planet — before I tried yours. Totally unlike any other drinks I've ever seen. Anyways, a place like that? There's an expectation to dress up and dress more… 'out'." He shrugs, "I don't. Then again as it happens this outfit suits my assets." Since it is so tight it barely counts as covering, "You should check out that place sometime, though. Maybe I'll chaperone: with me around no one will mind if you're not fancy."

"I will have to try Lux," Mike says, looking definitely interested by the prospect of the variety of the drinks alone. "I have also been told that I should go to the Black Cat, though I'm not entirely sure why. One of the patrons said that there were unusual people there and that I should check it out." He chuckles. "I'd like to go somewhere for a drink that I don't work." Then he says, "Hey, I could be fancy. I can do fancy."

"Ah, the Black Cat has an eclectic crowd, but in particular its a place where homosexuals can gather in relative safety— men who like men, women who like women." Johnny pauses, then shrugs, "I don't know what its like on your world, but that sort of thing is severely frowned at around here." He rolls his eyes to show his thoughts of that sort of thing. He grins at Mike, "I rather expect a prince can handle fancy, yes. I just didn't think you *had* fancy. And I wasn't sure if Daxim…" He totally mangles that, "…fancy matches earth fancy."

There's a sudden dawning of understanding when Johnny explains, "Oh, now see..she made it sound like the dancing was a problem, and said it was illegal in her country… now I think she meant that the part about the women dancing with women and men with men… was the problematical part. I was going to say — I have seen many cultures, but have not run across one where dancing was illegal yet." He chuckles and says, "On Daxam, our philosophy is the more the merrier," giving a shrug of his shoulders. "Well, I'm fairly sure that Daxam fancy and Earth fancy are probably different, as most of the fashion is a bit different. But that doesn't mean that I couldn't find Earth fancy.. with a little help."

At mention of dancing, Johnny laughs— yes, he's sort of laughing at Mike, but there doesn't seem to be anything *in* it. "Right, that's probably what she meant. Technically, here, the dancing isn't so much illegal as serving alcohol to those who aren't boring is. I can't imagine dancing being illegal anywhere outside of small little towns that try very hard to pretend that they're a cult. This country was founded, in part, by some *extremely* repressed people and that hasn't entirely gone away. In the cities you don't notice as as much, but get away from a city? You'd maybe be shocked by how anything fun is frowned upon." He then falls into his natural, easy grin, "I admit to following a philosophy that is not dissimilar to Daxam's." Hearing it again, he corrects his mispronounciation smoothly. "If I were you, I'd cultivate a rules-do-not-apply-to-me attitude. Its a lot more fun."

"Serving drinks to boring people, contrary to popular belief, does not make them more interesting," Mike opines, having had to deal with just that problem on more than one occasion. "I've been fortunate that a number of interesting people have happened through here since I'e been working here." Mike chuckles and says, "Things weren't too bad where I was — there just weren't many people, and the bars were very boring, mostly people who were drinking to forget work and boredom. The capitol city on Daxam was a thriving hub of activity at all hours at all times. There was never a lack of something to do or see, an experience to enjoy." He laughs a little then and says, "I think you would have enjoyed Daxam." He didn't comment on the mispronunciation, but he does smile a little bit when it is corrected. "It certainly was back home."

"That one I knew." Johnny laughs and nods his head, "And in my experience, people in no way get more interesting the drunker *you* get, either." but after three drinks he doesn't even sound particularly buzzed: he can hold his liquor, apparently. "Mankind has an expression, 'beer goggles', saying that the more you drink the less attractive a person you're willing to take home. This is not at all the case for me. Alcohol doesn't alter any of my interests." He nods to Mike, "Daxum sounds like a Johnny-speed place, though I imagine by engineering degree would be considered barely what a toddler should know." He grins broader, "Ah, but now you're wanting to covert, and breaking rules is how one stands out. The Four have it easy, I freely admit."

"I've never found that drinking has altered my interests either, just made me more likely to be more vocal about them, if anything," Mike considers, "Not that I've ever struggled to be vocal about anything.. but I do get considerably more chatty. And everything is a lot mroe funny." He shrugs his shoulders then and sets about cleaning up a little bit as they continue to talk. "Not all of us had the depth of scientific training that others had. Admittedly, it wasn't one of my best subjects. So you may know more than me, just about different technologies. I was more focused on politics, economics, interplanetary trade agreements, that sort of thing." He chuckles, "I'm not really sure what I want, to be honest." He shakes his head, and then says, "So.. last call. You want anything else? You can hang out as long as you want, but I need to close out the register." The dining room has slowly emptied out.

Considering, Johnny finishes up the fries and waves a hand, "Naw, this is good. I have my car— I didn't fly here— so I shouldn't get too buzzed before I decide where I'm heading when the night wakes and wants to party." But he takes a moment to consider Mike's words, and he grins, "I can't say I'm any different at all, drunk off my ass or not — but I'm perhaps not the one who would notice. I'm not exactly shy stone sober, and I'm not afraid of anything. I'm not sure I have the capability for embarassment." He tilts his third drink back to finish the last swallow, "I rather think you being more chatty would be… amusing."

Mike Matthews goes about cleaning up and closing up the register, then he wanders around to the other side of the bar and plops himself onto one of the stools, swiveling around so that he can lean back against the bar, resting his elbows on it. "You probably wouldn't notice. I don't. But others have told me that's how I get." He looks over at Johnny and says, "Yeah, shy is not a word that I would have attributed to you." He swivels slightly, back and forth as he looks out over the empty room. He laughs then, "Yeah? I mean, it's not like I'm all that reserved as it is."

Turning to face Mike, Johnny leans against the bar as well and for a long moment, his expression considering, "This is true. For all the effects I can claim alcohol doesn't have on me, I have more then once woke up with a hot person in bed and not remembered how they ended up there. That's not to say my taste was questionable, but if I'm going to go through the trouble to let my innocent self be seduced, I'd like to remember it." He laughs, "But that was mostly college. These days, well. I've mastered the place where I can maximize fun without sacrificing memory." He nods encouragingly to Mike, "It is good to know you are an observant fellow. So, are all the people on your planet super-fast and durable, or are you special? Some benefit of the royal line?" He eems interested.

"There's definitely a balance to maintained. If you can't remember it, then what's the point?" Mike can definitely agree on that point. He continues that idle slow swivel back and forth, comfortable now that he isn't working anymore and can just relax. "Actually, no. It seems to be a function of how our physiology reacts with your earth's sun. The longer that I've been exposed to it, the stronger that I've become, faster. I believe that the Kryptonian that I met is even faster and stronger than I am because they've been here longer on this Earth. At home, I would hav been considered athletic, strong certainly, perhaps to the level that one might considera professional athlete here. But nothing like I am now."

"I completely agree with you, Mikey, old friend. If you don't have a memory it might as well not have happened." Johnny grins, and shakes his head, relaxing as he leans with his eyes continuing to watch his companion: he's looking for something. "Huh. So, cosmic radiation empowers you — and cosmic radiation is what changed the Four. I wonder if there's something common about that— obviously it interacts differently." He lifts a hand, and from elbow to fingers, his hand *becomes fire*. It isn't that fire burns out of his skin like it did before, but there's no hand there— there's a burning white shape that is arm and hand shaped, with fingers that move, but that are pure, burning plasma. There's no flesh, no physiology there at all, only the shape. It lasts only a moment then vanishes and fire becomes flesh again. "Originally, I just… burned. Then after awhile I learned to … transform."

"If witnessing what I have is true, then I suspect that my abilities would become stronger over time the longer that I am here on Earth. I might be able to fly rather than leap someday," Mike says and then waves a hand, "Or maybe not. Maybe I'll develop some other new ability that I haven't yet uncovered. Or.. maybe nothing at all. In my case, really only time will tell one way or another, I think." He tilts his head a bit to the side and watches as Johnny's hand transforms into that hand-shaped representation, burning hot. He grins and shakes his head, "That's something, alright. The ability to become the flame entirely and burn like that."

"You said this… Kryptonian was faster and stronger." Johnny considers for a moment, "And you called this a sister-planet, but what does that mean? Are you one people — not now but historically? Two colonies, or one the colony of another? I'm not an expert on biology, but two peoples who have a similar reaction to our sun makes me think of a connection. It may be you both grow stronger the longer you're in our sun— or maybe you grow *differently*. I don't know. I admit I haven't managed to fit Daxam and Kryptonia into my mental model of the universe yet." But he does nod his head slowly, smiling easily, "Its… an interesting sensation. Its certainly more powerful but I usually don't go all plasma. It…. feels inhuman." He shrugs, but then after a moment grins. There's no sign, but suddenly its like heat itself just drains away from the whole room, quickly down to just below the freezing point. Breath comes as mist— in fact, Johnny steams in the cold. "I can breathe in all the heat in the area, or breath it out. I … hm." He considers his words carefully, "I don't fear it, these changes: I love them. But I'm careful. I think I could lose being me, being a *person* in becoming the fire. I'm more then these powers. Without these powers I deserve the fullness of my life. Its another balance."

"It means that they were in the same solar system, close enough that when Krypton exploded, the debris destroyed my own world. We have similar physiologies. It's most likely because we come from a similar place and likely have similar origins. And it's Krypton, or was Krypton.." Mike says with a shake of his head, not getting into the complexities of Daxamite or Kryptonian lore and the complex relationship between the two worlds. "It's not strange that our people would have similar reactions to the sun." When the room suddenly gets cold, Mike breathes out and watches the mist drift away from his lips. He's no more deeply affected by the cold than he is by the fire, but he does feel it, much as he can feel heat from the fire, even if he is immune to its damage. He nods though, as he listens to Johnny, and says, "It's one thing to be able to do all these things, but you can't just lose yourself in it, forget to have your own mind, and heart, and life."

Listening with interest, sensing perhaps some context unsaid, Johnny nods thoughtfully but doesn't directly comment or challenge Mike's words. For all that he has the image of the rich, famous playboy, he's under a layer or two a thoughtful and observant person. He just acts on instinct, usually. But, Johnny lets the temperature rise: this is slower, more gradual, and he doesn't bother demonstrating the sweltering heat he can bring. That's almost… expected, after all, isn't it? "What's of interest to me is that there are two worlds in one system which can be said to be similar: there's no two worlds in this system that are. Even looking at the gas giants, largely liquid hydrogen, they're wildly different." He shrugs, "Its just interesting, I'm not challenging what you're saying." But then he's more serious and he considers, "The thing is I almost think I *could* lose myself to it: that's why I guard against it." He tilts his head, "You know most people show at least some fear when I show the fire — you don't even blink. Are you fireproof too?" There's just curiosity still in his questioning, like he doesn't mind that someone might not be vulnerable to his destructive potential.

"Oh, I didn't think you were challenging anything. The history between Daxamites and Kryptonians is fraught with disagreement. Our two planets don't get along very well, or.. didn't, in general. We were too hedonistic for them, they were too snobbish for us, but both societies had their brilliance and their flaws," Mike says and then nods, "I know little about your solar system, aside from what I've read a little about since my arriving here." He then turns his attention back toward Johnny, swiveling his stool to face him. "Light up your hand again," he says.

"What is especially interesting to me is if you're reacting to our sun in a way which is empowering you— then there must be something very different about the suns of our respective systems. Yet we look identical. That has to mean something but I'm not a scientist enough to know what: but if I saw you in any bar or club in this City I'd notice you and not because you look like some alien or other." Johnny shakes his head, and eyes a sidelong look off at the alcohol no longer available to buy. The sacrifices!. But at this last request, he tilts his head, "How much?" He reaches his hand out, and a warm red fire erupts from his skin. Red is the coolest flame he can do: six, seven hundred degrees. It can melt lead. But its nothing compared to the heat of his incandescent white, or when his body is burning plasma.

"Perhaps we'll have to talk to your scientist friend — Reed? Maybe he will have some insight as to why. Perhaps there are some tests that can be done that would give some idea." Then he grins a little bit idly and sits up a bit straighter, holding up his hand as Johnny lifts his own and says, "No? Why would you notice me, then?" He brings his hand closer to that warm red fire, and gradually brings his hand closer until it is palm to palm against Johnny's, the red hot flames against his skin, and there's no damage. He moves his fingers a little bit and watches. "I can feel the heat," he says.. "I think if you went white hot it would hurt… there's a limit. Too much of a blast of heat or electricity will still do damage. I'd regenerate.. but it'd hurt like fuck in the meantime."

"Reed has thoughts on everything and has studied me enough that I don't even notice when he prods me with a needle." Johnny's tone says: bored, on the subject of this study. He's curious about Mike but man, he's endured so many pokes and prods by Reed. But, then the grin and question has Johnny answering as only he can: "Because you are almost as good looking as me, and considering most audiences that makes you basically the most attractive person I might see that evening." The depth of the cocky there is tempered by a teasing tone: he knows the absurdity of saying just that and doesn't — entirely — mean it. But, he becomes distracted by skin against his burning skin, "That's… interesting. Hey, I can take you flying— I might have to loan you some pants, but still— if you can endure basic flame. I can fly on low power. I only go high power on special occassions." But then he say ssoberly, "But be careful, Mikey. White hot is… small. Tiny. I mean, by all means, own your awesome. But don't assume you can't be touched. At white hot I'm as hot as the surface of the sun— thousands of degrees. I can melt steel like butter, fly at the speed of sound as pure liquid fire. But that's not nova: if I let it all go, every bit of energy I store, Reed's instruments estimate it in the million degree range. This is not a threat: its a … There are things maybe surprisingly dangerous on Earth, Mr. Alien Friend, that you shouldn't underestimate. You're amazing, but be cautious. There's…weird stuff going on."

Mike Matthews doesn't seem particularly inclined to continue the talk about experimentation, mostly reacting to Johnny's curiosity than anything else. And so when he seems to grow bored of the topic, he drops it easily enough. He laughs then and says, "And in some audiences, the only person you might see." He glances around at the restaurant, now completely empty, and the bar, having noticed the wistful glance toward the booze. "You know if you want, I can make you another. I'll just cover it tomorrow when I get in." Then he lifts both eyebrows and says "You could?" There's actually a grin that is almost boyish in nature, goes right up to his eyes and makes them sparkle a bit, "I want to fly. That would be amazing." But then he shakes his head and says, "I didn't say I wanted you to go white hot. I'm pretty sure going that hot would likely burn my hand off. Like I said.. I could regenerate, but it'd hurt like fuck. I'm not interested in finding that out right this second." He gradually draws his hand away from the flame though.

The flame vanishes immediately, and Johnny shakes his head, "Oh, believe me, of all the things I would be interested in having happen with you, burning your hand off is on the bottom of the list." He laughs, "But yeah." He nods, "It'd take a bit of care, and some borrowed clothes unless you were not shy, but I could take you flying if you can withstand that level of fire. I'd burn my feet incandescant to provide thrust— but I can keep that heat focused down. You know I've never been able to think of taking someone flying before— I can burn my legs only and fly with my upper body not, but there's just not a good level of control in that situation to make flight safe. I could only ever take someone flying who was more… resistant…" He seem squite interested in the idea, but he lifts his hand and gazes at it even as it turns, unflamed, just skin and bone. His expression is considering. "But no, I know you didn't say you wanted me to go white hot. I wasn't talking about me: I'd never nova you. I just…" A moment of uncertainty, which is unusual for him, "Just be careful. I could see someone arriving on our planet, super durable, strong, fast, thinking themselves beyond the mere kin of man. But I've seen some of what the mutants can do, and it would shock the ancient gods. That's all I meant. No, I've no interest in you feeling any pain at all. That's the last thing I'm interested in. It wasn't a personal threat, just a general— Earth is primitive but there are a number of Powers-capital-P walking unobtrusively in our midst. And I don't always count myself their number."

Mike Matthews reaches over and gives Johnny's shoulder a clasp and this time it's gentle, not like the accidentally too-hard handshake. "I didn't think that you were giving me a personal threat, just being informative. I'm aware that I'm not indestructable, and I've seen some of those who have been caught on television. I know there are a lot of things out there. There are even others whose capabilities I do know are greater than mine. I'll try and remember that I'm not immortal and not get too cocky." There's a flicker of a grin. It might be a tall order, but he can try after all. No promises on success, however. Then he says, "Flying sounds like something we should do, then. Since you don't need to worry about me burning, and I definitely want to go flying with you." He shrugs his shoulders, "I'm not shy. I'm fine with either option."

Johnny reaches up to lay a hand on Mike's clapsing hand, and maybe that's not at all a subtle hey-lets-touch thing, but Johnny isn't subtle. "Oh, mostly, I mean…" he does say, though, "…there's *strange* stuff here. Stuff that isn't always measured by strength, by durability. By greater. There's stuff measured in the *weird*. I have recently been possessed by the spirit of an ancestor from some two thousand to four thousand years ago— my whole body not in any control as he walks through the city doing his mission." To say Johnny's tone says this is NOT OKAY is an understatement, and so he lets the hand-on-clasping fall. There's a flash of a grin, "I don't mind cocky. But there's risks— and I love risks, half my money is paid by the Future Foundation and the other half trick driving or riding— but all the risks I take I know what the risk is. That's all. I'm just saying, Mikey, you're new. Be careful." He nods then with an easy grin, "You name it, Mikey. You want to fly at any point or time, I'm Air Johnny for you."

Mike Matthews lets his own hand fall away and he leans back companionably against the bar, though both brows go up and then knit together at the mention of possession. "That is.. not something that I have ever seen, and yes, not okay." He can read that expression and tone easily enough. "I get it," he grins, easily enough. "I'm not running around looking for a fight, or looking for crazy things to get into. And I will be careful if I run into the strange as best I can." All of that is said with both a casual sort of confidence, but also a little bit of reassurance as well. Looking around the empty place he says, "Now?" and then looks back to Johnny, one brow raised quizzically.

Accepting the confidence: he isn't sure what all the prince can endure, but its clearly more then human. Warning him that humans can be surprisingly… dangerous? He did what he could. To warn. But Johnny isn't cautious, so given, he trusts the warning itself. He does warn, "If anyone says the magic word— magic— don't ignore it. Don't assume its someone talking out their ass. There's some stuff going on I don't understand that's a real power… but.." But then he pushes off agains the bar, and grins. He offers a hand over towards Mike, "Sure, Mikey. now. Or do you prefer Money? I don't know. Maybe you'd rather me call you, Mon-El. I'm not the kind of guy all serious on names— I mean, Johnathan Storm? John Storm? God, no. I'm Johnny. Its both strong and casual. What would you have me name you, between us? I have to know before we visit the stars together." A flash of a grin then again.

Mike Matthews takes the offered hand and nods, "I've seen many strange things on other worlds. Magic isn't something that I would discount, even if it works differently." He slides off of the stool and pushes away from the bar, heading out toward the exit and making sure to lock it up even as he laughs and says, "Between us, Mon-El. It's my given name, the one that those who know me would call me." Then he pauses and says, "Yeah, I don't think I could call you Johnathan.. You are definitely a Johnny." He laughs then, and finishes locking up before leaving the restaurant behind.

"I'm not sure I'd discount anything, myself." Johnny's voice is wry as he shakes his head, and after leading outside he heads to a nearby parked sports car. Its shiny silver and looks expensive and fast. "But magic was something of a surprise. Considering the Four's abilities are more or less something scientific in basis— Reed has been studying them and though he hasn't isolated exactly what the cause is, he has some information— and since mutants are more or less theoretically evolution… but magic? I don't really understand that world. But understanding and accepting it as being are not the same thing." He unlocks his door then the other, and slips inside with a grin, "Yeah, I think I got called Johnathan by my parents once and they decided by the time I was two it didn't stick."

Mike Matthews follows Johnny out toward the car and oves around to the passenger side. He nods a bit at the explanation, or rather the fact that magic defies explanation, at least scientifically. "I can accept it as being a thing without understanding how it works. There are plenty of things on Earth that I accept as being things without understanding them, such as jello and laws against dancing.. though we did unravel the mystery of that oen earlier." He opens the door and slips inside, then laughs just a little. "I can see that."

"Jello." Johnny pauses a moment to consider, even as he revs the car up and peels out a bit. He doesn't really do slow. "Jello is something of a mystery to me as well, I'm afraid. Now, the root beer floats you were talking about earlier, that I can explain. Its the ice cream that floats in the root beer — though I suppose it'd be more accurate to say ice cream floats in that case. English is something of a bastard of a language: it frequently heads down alleys and jumps on other languages and stabs them in the kidney and steals their words from their wallet." Speed limits are just suggestions.

"Yes, a friend of mine pointed out the misunderstanding about the floats," Mike confirms when Johnny explains it. Then he laughs at the description of the language. "I'm not sure that I would have ever thought of it in those terms but the imagery is definitely as accurate as I can think of. There are worse langauges out there, but none that I've taken the time to learn." He settles back for the ride and doesn't see to mind the speed. Johnny's a stunt driver, after all, and Mike apparently has every confidence in his abilities.

Johnny might have a special fund set up for speeding tickets; the Future Foundation administrators might pinch their nose in annoyance over the subject. Johnny makes some idle smalltalk as he drives, and its not long before he's parking in hte underground parking lot for Baxter, in the section reserved for the Four and the Foundation. "Welcome to Baxter." he remarks as he flashes a grin over at Mike, "If you're ever calling or showing up, the code word is 'Mr Alexander', at least, for me. If you're calling or showing up, that's how they know you're not just another crazy stalker trying to get access to me. I don't even have a direct phone access: you would not believe the crazy calls I was getting before they set up the receptionist systems."

Mike Matthews seems content to enjoy the ride and to chat occasionally on the way. Climbing out of the car he takes a look around and then nods, "Mr. Alexander, got it." He falls in next to Johnny, following him toward the building. "I think I would believe it. People are always wanting to know those that are in the public eye. It gives them a sense that they know you, even if they don't." It's said somewhat matter-of-factly. Strolling his way along with an easy gait he says, "I can usually be found at the bar, or using the bar phone. I have one at my place, but I can never remember the number as there's no one at the moment who would call me."

Johnny pauses as he exits, "Right, I forgot, prince. You probably had whole layers of buffers between crazy stalkers and yourself." He laughs: he's not embarassed by the oversight, but there's some small sense of something that is vaguely in that ballpark. He heads over towards an elevator and types in a code before it opens— and another code is typed inside before it begins its ascent. "Security's top notch here— no one can get to the top floors where we live and work without codes at best, or multiple levels of security otherwise." He nods amicably, then grins, "So, once we get you pants that won't burn up, how fast do you think you can handle going? Or are you interested in just going *up*?"

"Palace guards, mostly, and most all communication went through my various advisors and counsel," Mike says, glancing back and over toward Johnny, grinning just a little. He hadn't meant to point out an oversight as much as merely share an experienc he was somewhat familiar with. He follows into the elevator and leans back against the back wall comfortably while Johnny takes them up "How about we start off slow, and then ramp it up. I can let you know how fast is too fast." He grins.

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