1965-06-12 - Dinner at the Stacey residence
Summary: Gwen cooks a nice home made Earth dinner for Starfire and they chat about their cultural differences.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
starfire gwen-stacy 

This should be a meal she hopes Kori will like. Baked Honey Mustard Chicken, spinach salad with mustard vinaigrette, and her neighbor's potato salad recipe—also generous with the mustard. She looks up as she puts the salad out, wondering if the mustard smell will entice the reclusive Kori from her room. Gwen has often wondered what she gets up to, but she has always elected to give Kori privacy. She just hopes Kori is doing well, whatever she is doing.

In a way Starfire is so outgoing that it almost comes back round to seeming reclusive, with a whole world to explore and the innate ability to fly anywhere she wishes Kori often pops out her bedroom window to explore the vastness of Earth. Sometimes these adventures are planned but more often than not it's a spur of the moment decision, usually based on something she's read or heard on the radio.

Today at least the alien princess is definately in the house. The sounds of a radio drama can occasionally be heard as she moves around the house thanks to the communicator somehow built into the gemstone set in her belt. It takes a little while after the smells begin to fill the house before the radio sounds stop and she floats curiously down the stairs, her attention fixed on a copy of a free housekeeping magazine that was dropped off by the mailman earlier that day.

Gwen looks up and smiles. She's read the paper often, mostly for awareness of what is going on the street, but occasionally there is a story about Starfire showing up in odd places. Supertypes always sell papers. And Starfire is one of the more glamorous ones. The last one was of her in the Serengeti, playing with cheetahs. Having them chase her. It looks like great fun for both the girl and the cat.

"Hey there, Kori!" Gwen raises a hand in greeting. "I thought I'd make something you might enjoy." She checks the oven…just a few minutes more for the chicken…and then reaches into the refrigerator to pull out the bowl of potato salad.

"Good day friend Gwen!" Starfire replies, looking up from the magazine for a moment. "Did you know there is a real sorcerer living in the city? Also I may have met someone who can help me with my immigration status. He can summon business cards from nothing and had a large talking cat-like friend."

She floats over in the direction of the dining area. "It does smell very enjoyable. I will have to ensure I train extra hard to burn off the additional mass I am gaining from consumption of solid matter." She hmmms thoughtfully at the magazine. "This Earth publication is very… interesting. It is explaining the process by which Human couples form and the importance of not becoming a 'spinster'."

Gwen snickered. "I doubt you would make a very good housewife, Kori. I can see you out and about, living a life of excitement, instead of staying home all the time in the traditional roles. Listen, have a seat. Food will be ready in a couple of minutes." She begins tossing the salad, placing a no-label bottle of the homemade mustard dressing on the table nearby. "I heard about the sorcerer. Magic is something I know nothing about, and I tend to be a little wary of something that can turn the laws of physics into easily-ignorable suggestions." She set out a pair of plates. "Anything you'd like to drink?"

"Oh! You misunderstand me friend Gwen," Starfire exclaims earnestly, drifting over towards the dining table. "I am concerned that you might not find a partner. It will likely be at least eighty of your Earth years before I reach the age at which a Tamaranean would consider starting a family. Besides I do not think your people have the medical technology to confirm if such a pairing is even possible let alone cope with any complications!" She hmmms thoughtfully, putting the magazine down. "I do not really mind beverage wise. Is there anything which is traditionally paired with the meal?"

Gwen looks thoughtful. "I don't buy alcohol…but II do have some apple cider. I'm told fruit goes well with chicken and potatoes." She remembers her father saying that some time ago. "I can pour a couple of glasses."
Gwen walks over to the fridge, pulling out a large glass bottle, then grabs two tall dinner glasses, handling them easily in one hand with the bottle in the other. She places the glasses on the counter with a practiced air, then open the bottle and pours two glasses. "If this isn't to your taste, we also have fresh water and even milk, if that's to your liking."

"I have tried all of those options and find them acceptable," Starfire assures with a smile. "Although they become less enjoyable when mixed together into a single drink. I am curious, do you avoid alcohol for cultural reasons or because it does not impact your biology?"

Starfire begins to, very carefully, assist with the table setting process. "I hope I did not offend you by raising the topic of your marital status. But I would like you to know that if you ever need my assistance in searching for a suitable partner I would gladly do whatever I could. As future monarch I received tutelage in the process of arranging political marriages amoung the nobility and I am sure such skills would prove useful!"

Gwen smiles wryly. "I appreciate that, Kori, I really do." She pauses for a few moments. "My father wasn't a common drunk. But there were a few times…very painful times in his life. When he did drink, and he did drink himself into a stupor. He had a few nights the previous three years…horrible nights. People doing things to each other that might make you think there was no hope for the species. I'd tell you, Kori, but we ARE about to eat. Alcohol was…his way of warding off the unspeakable, of only for a night or two every six or seven months. I think he got very depressed, seeing that sort of thing." She turns to take the chicken out of the oven, hearing it sizzle quietly. "I usually made him a big breakfast, to help ward off the hangover. And then he was the Iron Cop again."

"Oh yes. I understand that sensation," Starfire assures. "I tried the mead at the Asgardian embassy. Earth drinks do not typically have a strong effect on my biochemistry but that particular drink is /extremely/ potent. My own species have several types of intoxicant, typically brewed from various kinds of fungus. I do not know if they would be safe for a human to taste though.."

Gwen smirks. "Well, I need to keep a level head. I don't know what I might do if I got drunk. Knowing me, I'd give you a big wet kiss and go webslinging in my nightgown. So much for the secret identity, eh?" She begins setting up the plates with a good serving of each entree. "Besides…there are some things I enjoy that are better than drugs. Webslinging for me is so much fun, I can barely begin to describe it. It's…pure excitement. Is there a power you have that you REALLY enjoy?"

"Why would you need to be intoxicated to kiss someone?" Starfire wonders aloud. "For a time my people would learn languages that way. But when visiting an unknown culture the tradition was changed to prevent diplomatic incidents. Perhaps you could simply wear your mask and your nightgown? That would protect your identity I am sure." Her head tilts curiously. "I am unsure how you would define powers? To you my ability to fly might seem to be a power, but for my people it is as natural as breathing is to you."

Gwen puts the plate in front of Kori, smiling as she adds cutlery to each side of the plate, then places the glass of cider above the plate. As she fixes up her own plate, she says, "Well, there are some telltale differences. But I think being able to fly would be very fun. Especially in New York, which the bus or the subway are the only options other than walking." She sets the plate on the counter next to Starfire, then adds her own fork, knife, and glass to the setting. "Kissing allows you to understand each other? Well, for most people here, kissing is an intimate gesture. But I can see why someone would want to kiss you. You're lovely, shapely, and have that slight touch of the exotic that can appeal to a lot of people."

"We learn languages through physical contact," Starfire explains with a laugh. "I learnt most of my languages through the shaking of hands. For that is a polite Earth tradition in many places. You are also pleasingly shaped friend Gwen, although /everyone/ here is exotic to me. In the past did I tell you that my people learn to fly by concentrating on the joy of flight? And typically the faster an individual can fly the stronger the emotion. Travelling at the speeds required to move between stars is one of the most joyous sensations my people know of."

Gwen smiles. "That's gotta be somethin', Kori." She looks to the plate. "I dunno if you say a prayer to whatever deity you follow, so I want to offer a moment of silence. Don't have to say anything out loud. After that, just dig right in. I chose tonight's dinner because I know you love mustard, and every dish has it as an ingredient."

"My people worship the goddess X'Hal, but she is very far away and I do not believe would have much to say regarding a meal. I imagine she would only care if the food had been obtained in an… immoral or dishonourable manner. But if you wish a moment of silence that is acceptable with me." Starfire replies, before giving Gwen a moment of silence in case she wished to pray. "X'Hal is more commonly invoked for guidance with moral issues and for blessings during.. I think perhaps if I explain further it would not be considered an Earth polite dinner conversation." The notion of an entire meal based around mustard certainly gets her attention. And she only barely brings herself to follow local table manners rather than reverting to the more extreme Tamaranean eating style.

Gwen bows her head slightly. For her father, and his code. For the code she follows herself.
She nods, says, "Amen," then picks up her fork and knife. "Dig in, Kori. I hope you like everything."
Mustard does taste good in a meal, if you prepare it right. She had cooked for her father for years. She was no chef, but she could read a cookbook.
"I never really asked about where you came from. Mostly because I wanted you to settle in, feel welcome…feel like you could relax without me asking you a lot of questions you might not want to give the answers, too. I am still curious, but I want to respect you, too. So…if you'd like, if you want to share something, you can trust that I won't tell anyone else. I want you to trust me, so I've been trusting you first. It's better that way. You want trust, you have to show some first."

"I am not really keeping my culture a secret," Starfire promises, tucking in with a speed that'd be alarming for a human. She doesn't need to breathe after all. "But there are many notions you would find shocking and some aspects which I should not discuss because they could influence your worlds development in some way. Some topics might be a little upsetting, as they remind me of a place I may never see again, but it would be against the culture of my world to shy away from the joyous things simply because they might bring up harsh memories."

Gwen nods as she chews thoughtfully. The cider really does go well with the meal, in her opinion. "Well…after some of the things I've seen and been through, I'm not as easily shockable as most people. But I can understand how you feel about messing around with how this world advances. There can be such a thing as knowing too much for your own good. Sometimes I think that's how nuclear energy is. A little too much, too fast, and we're still trying to learn as much as we can about this." She smirks. "Not bad for a girl who got an average grade in Physics class."

Starfire nods. "It is potentially very polluting, but then so is the burning of fossil fuels! I think many alien species go through similar phases. Perhaps with all the alien contact your people have had they will have an accelerated development in such aspects!" She manages to finish pretty much her entire portion in a fraction of the time it takes a regular Human and just barely resists the urge to lick the plate clean. "But if you feel you would not be shocked I can tell you a bit about the worship of X'hal. Often prayers are made asking for healthy and happy children or to ask for guidance before physical intimacy. To ensure that all parties are considerate of the others needs and desires." She frowns. "In a way she is like some Human fertility dieties, except there are historical records of her deeds before and after ascention to a higher state of being. So.. we do not really have what you would call faith."

Gwen points to the dishes that still have potato salad and chicken. In anticipation of hunger, she cooked enough for four. "Have seconds, please. I'm just gratified that you like my cooking." She looks thoughtful. "I can see that. I remember reading that fertility meant that your tribe didn't die out after a generation or two, and not being able to have children suggested there was something wrong with you." She pauses. "We are of two very different cultures. But I think that the existence of other worlds with life on them does not disprove anything in what I believe. If anything, I feel that a loving God would not want us to be alone in the universe." She smiles to Kori. "Faith is in the belief of what cannot be emprically proven. That is its nature. But I'm not going to ram what I believe down your throat or require you to believe what I believe. If there is something we cannot agree on…then we can agree to disagree without being offended. Doesn't that seem fair?"

"My beliefs do not really conflict with Human faiths. Although I do not think the notion of sex and nudity as something sinful would catch on back home," Kori admits with a laugh. "The ability to provide proof is why worship of X'hal is not about faith. We have proof she exists and simply aspire to be like her. To be strong and use that strength to protect others and to be kind, just and loving. Tolerance and empathy are also things to aspire to. So I would like to believe I can respect… not simply another races beliefs but my friends beliefs."

Gwen nods. "I can live with that. And it fits with what I believe, too." She pauses, then adds, "Someone taught me I had a responsibility to help people with what I can do. So I'm doing it. To just use for selfish purposes or to not use it at all is just plain wrong." She takes another sip of cider. "Do you like the food?"

Starfire nods again, enthusiastically. "It was very enjoyable. I have almost filled a stomach! It is very hard to remember my Human table manners when faced with mustard flavours. Such a delight back home would be fiercely contested and even a royal would have to fight to claim a share." She has indeed finished any extras and, surreptitiously, licked her plate clean with an inhumanly long tongue. "I am still trying to be careful about where and when I reveal my abilities, because I do not wish to alarm the authorities. But perhaps if I can register myself as a legal visitor to the planet I could do more. I shall have to see how such a process goes."

Gwen nods. "Well, if you need a reference, or a sponsor, or any kind of local representative, all you have to do is ask. I still get a lot of emotional support from the NYPD, and I would like to help you in any way possible."

Starfire tilts her head. "I thank you for the offer, but at this stage I would like to avoid implicating you in my continued residence. I would not wish an angry mob to form outside because you have allowed an alien to stay. My people have always known we were not alone in the universe, so I can only imagine what discovering other intelligent races exist and are more advanced than you would be like."

Gwen snorts. "I could care less what they think. You are a PERSON, Koriand'r. A person who deserves to get fair representation. You are also my friend, and I think I can handle an angry mob." She looks thoughtful. "In fact, I have. More than once. So don't worry about me being some fair -weather friend who gives up when the going gets tough."

"I think the mob might include the American army," Starfire points out with a wink. "And I would not like you to get shot. But if they do ask for references and character statements I promise you will be at the top of my list. Besides if a mob formed around this house I would have to go elsewhere to absorb light, which would be terribly inconvinient."

Gwen shrugs. "Let's cross that bridge when we get to it." She finishes her meal, sighs deeply, then finishes the last of her cider. "Okay, Kori, time to clean up. But if you need any advice about the citizenship process that we can use to your advantage, let me know. I know a couple of cops who work with Immigration, and they might be able to help."

Starfire begins to pick up the various plates and bowls. "I do not think the immigration books cover aliens, but I shall keep that in mind." Her own plate looks almost spotless, despite the amount she's consumed. "And from now on please do feel free to ask anything you like about Tamaranean culture. I think I am past my initial sickness for the home."

Gwen chuckles as she puts the dishes in the sink. "Okay. But if you can't answer for any reason, just say so. Don't lie to spare my feelings, just say you can't tell me. I won't be offended."

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