First, We Need Teamwork

Characters: Toni Ho, Dominique Thiebaut
Rated: PG
Summary: Toni (Iron Patriot) and Dominique (Cyblade) discuss the founding of a new organization, the Outsiders, and what it will take to be a team.
OOC Date: December 24, 2017
IC Date: December 24, 2017
Where: A Brazillian grill in Queens

Toni has asked Dominique if she wanted to try a new Brazillian grill that's opening…it's not exactly the fanciest place, but it's supposed to be both authentic and tasty to say the least. She realizes this probably means Jocelyn will come along…she's still not sure why she must follow her everywhere, but she supposes it' sjust a bodyguard thing, so she's sort of gotten used to it.

Mistress Jocelyn slips in quietly ahead of the two younger women and has a word with the maitre d', who is nodding at the blonde by the time Toni and Dominique enter. He smiles brightly at the new entrants and leads the trio to a booth near the back, with, if you're paying attention to this kind of thing, line of sight to the main entrance and a good shot at the restrooms, the kitchen, or the fire exit. Dominique slides in ahead of her mistress, and the maitre d' leaves without offering menus, which provokes raised eyebrows from the younger woman. "That's interesting," she comments to Toni. "I didn't realize there were restaurants in America that don't offer menus."

"Well, my understanding is, you sort of pay to be able to have some of whatever they bring to the table, in terms of meat? There's also the buffet…I really recommend the fried bananas there, tasty stuff. I used to love it when I lived back in Seattle. They had a food truck that made it near where I grew up." She smiles a bit. "I'm sure we'll get someone by to take our drink order and such though soon."

Dominique nods, smiling pleasantly, fingers laced together atop the table. "It just reminded me of a restaurant back home, for a moment. A specific one, I should say, rather than a cultural expectation. The waiter would come to the table and explain without a menu when the chef had chosen to prepare that day, in as much detail as you cared to ask for without giving away the recipe itself. That doesn't seem to be the way here, but I couldn't help but be reminded of it.

Toni smiles. "You can still find places like that around here, but they tend to be the smaller gastropub sort of places." she admits. "I used to go try them out a lot when I was at Caltech, there were all sorts near campus that had changing menus every day. Though most were either Asian food, sandwiches, pizza, or burgers at their core, with lots of beer." she says amusedly. "Did you go there on your own?"

Dominique's eyes hood in wry appreciation of the delicacy and tact with which the question was asked. "Oh no, of course not. Mistress Jocelyn has been with me for so long I can't imagine life without her." Her hands unlace so she can reach over to briefly brush the side of Jocelyn's hand with her pinky in about as blatant a gesture of outright affection as Dominique has ever made; a gesture Jocelyn accepts with a quick smile down at the table before returning to her watchfulness. "She started with my family as my bodyguard, though at the time I was too young to understand that was her function. I rather thought of her as an older girl I wanted to be like; I think in English you might have called her a governess, if such things still exist? Now, as I'm older, in addition to helping me with my training and protecting my safety, she also—would it upset you if I spoke frankly for a moment?"

Toni raises a brow curious. "Shoot. I'd rather it be frank, really." she she says thoughtfully. And she's a bit curious about Jocelyn, but it's a bit hard to ask about her and not seem…well, rude, when it's right in front of the other woman, after all.

Dominique nods. "She's also my maid of honor, watching me to make certain I don't shame the family with an indiscretion. I try not to talk about it because I don't want to be lurid, but I would like to be forthright about that just to be certain Mistress Jocelyn herself knows I don't consider it a mark of shame against her, or a source of resentment." She smiles at the older blonde, who bows her head graciously and offers in a low murmur, "Thank you, Mistress Dominique."

Toni says a bit wryly. "I have to say, I've never really considered you doing anything that seems lurid. I don't think you even dated much when we were at MIT, did you? Or you didn't talk about it much if you did." She mmms. "Not that I can say much, my dry period is at least as long as since then."

Dominique shakes her head, opens her mouth to speak, and closes it again to smile at the waiter as he comes by with a tray of water glasses, a pole with a sliding flag, and the first skewer of meat. Her fingers remain serenely laced together as Mistress Jocelyn, whose function is now explained in detail, accepts a plate on Dominique's behalf, then for Toni, and finally for herself. Pineapple ham. Dominique calmly spreads her napkin across her lap and slides the knife across the meat to cut it into bites small enough they would be at home in a can of wet cat food. Once the waiter had left, Dominique continues as if he'd never been there, explaining, "I don't make a particular secret of my sexual orientation. I just try to be discreet about it. There's no official law against a royal with homosexual tendencies, but it would be a minor social scandal, so I expect I'll live as one of the virgin spinsters whose secret life is there in the history books if you know how to read between the lines. In that way, I rather envy you your freedom, Toni."

The Chinese woman wrinkles her nose. "Mmm, well…it's a pity it's still a scandal these days." She cuts her ham up into bite sized portions, but not nearly as small as Dominique, chewing hungrily as she mmms, then waves the fork absently. "Doesn't seem fair. I mean, does that mean they're going to force you to marry someone down the line, just so they can get the next generation of royals?"

Mistress Jocelyn subtly shakes her head at the same Dominique replies, "Oh, no, no. We're still a monarchy, but there's almost nowhere left in Europe where royal lineages matter nearly that much. I'm not even certain Chalenne will remain a monarchy by the end of my lifetime. We've done our best to remain relevant to process of rule, and I'm proud of many of the royal family's accomplishments, but populist revolutions have changed the power dynamic toward democracy in irrevocable ways I honestly wouldn't revoke if I could." She laughs lightly. "Which makes it a bit odd the people still feel uncomfortable sloughing off antiquated rituals of succession, but only a bit. We all take comfort in the continuity of old traditions."

"Well, that just means you're wealthy but without the royal side of it, I suppose. And the wealthy are just as interested in keeping up appearances, and marrying in their own class and the like." Toni says thoughtfully. "Though it's rare to hear of a happy marriage like that. That could just be because the bad ones get in the tabloids the most though." She takes another bite of her ham, savoring it with obvious enjoyment.

Dominique (and Mistress Jocelyn) eat at a dignified pace, the tiny bites easy to chew and swallow rapidly as not to cause a moment's distraction during the conversation. "Oh, I'd say most royal marriages are reasonably happy, though in Europe we have somewhat different ideas for happiness in marriage than Americans do. Your culture seems to prize passionate, romantic attachment more than ours, whereas we consider marriage more as a partnership between two people whose interests align. Or, well, I say 'your' when I shouldn't, as I don't know how much of Chinese attitudes toward romance your family instilled in you…?" she trails off invitingly.

Toni mmms. "It's about family honor for Chinese marriages, even in the States. You have to marry someone who won't bring shame socially. Not as strongly, and lots of second and third generation kids people choose who they want here still, but…it's always there." She shrugs. "…but I'm an orphan, so I've no family to bring honor or shame to, really."

That's maybe the first time Dominique has ever looked openly startled, even if it's just for an instant before vanishing beneath an expression of contrition. "Oh, Toni, I'm sorry. I hope I didn't touch a sore spot."

The other woman pokes at her food and smiles a little weakly. "Nah, it's…I'm used to it. It's been years since my mother passed away, and my father died when I was ten. Killed by terrorists." Her lips curve into a frown. "The Stark thing." She inhales, then lets out a sigh. "…I had a half brother, but he died before I could meet him, trying to get revenge."

That takes Dominique aback. "Goodness. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, knowing how fierce you are, that such determination would run in the family, but still, that's a dramatic story."

Toni hehs. "Fierce? I guess…" she says, jabbing the last piece of ham off her plate, and waving it slightly. "…he was the one everyone forgets. Yo Hinsen. The man who help Stark design his suit." Her eyes narrow, before she pops the piece in her mouth, chewing then swallowing. "Not that Stark ever corrects people. Everyone forgets that he didn't design it by himself. Maybe his arc reactor gave it power, but my father was the one who gave birth to the idea of the suit."

Dominique nods along. "It must be frustrating, to have your family's contribution lessened for the sake of maintaining a celebrity's legend."

The other woman scowls. "It isn't even that. It'd be nice, but…he DIED so Stark could get out. And he's such an insufferable, smug, smarmy jerk of a man! All claiming he's changed, that he's not doing weapons, when he's turned the Iron Man armor into the most powerful weapon on the planet arguably, for sheer adaptability!"

Dominique continues to nod along, as does Mistress Jocelyn, in a rare lapse of discretion, which she covers for by lifting the flag to indicate everyone's ready for the next course. "It was certainly cause for great international concern," Dominique remarks. "I know the stories of the Russian power suitsthe Crimson Dynamo, was it?accumulated the most press and therefore the most awareness, but every nation in the world had reason to begin work on countermeasures against a private citizen who is the sole owner and operator of a weapon just shy of nuclear capacity in terms of its potential for damage. America is enough of a military giant as it is."

"And a private citizen who butts in wherever he feels like it now, as one of the Justice Defenders." Toni grouses. "He's…he's undeserving of the fame he has." She takes a deep breath, then lets it out. "…sorry, just…touched a nerve there I guess."

Dominique's smile is so wry it's halfway to being a smirk. "It's alright, Toni. It's not the first time this nerve has been touched. I know what to expect."

The purple-haired girl grumbles, then leans back. "Anyway…changing the subject a bit…" she says, frowning. "What…are you planning on doing next Dominique? I mean, I know you've got responsibilities as a royal, but you've also got a lot of personal power now. You've been pushing me to go out and…well, do things. And I did, and…" She mmms. "…it didn't go great, but I think that was more a lack of teamwork than anything else at first. So…" She pauses a bit. "Are you…thinking about making use of what you can do, like you and Riri were urging me to do?"

"I think I have to, after that conversation with Riri," Dominique says. The topic is guarded, though surprisingly frank given Jocelyn's presence. "I'm simply not sure I'm temperamentally suited to the style you and Riri share. Americans are a bit more bombastic by culture, whereas we smaller nations have to be a bit more subtle and circumspect." She smiles suddenly. "The Frodo to your Aragorn and Legolas, perhaps."

"I'd rather have been Tauriel from the Hobbit. One of the few good things about the movie, though they still put her in a stupid love triangle." Toni says absently, then pause as one of the waiters arrives, this time with a a fine savory chicken breast that he gives everyone a slice of befor emoving on. "And I'm not against being more…uh, quiet about it. But….if we are going to do this, we should actually work goether as a team then. Train together. You know, like….an official group."

Toni shrugs. "No big deal. I'd rather be more subtle than Riri is. Or more thoughtful at least. She gets excited or so focused on her projects she can miss the big picture."

Dominique nods. "And if you have any criticisms of me, I hope you'll be forthcoming about them. It's definitely an area in which we need to take any need for improvement very seriously."

Toni smiles. "Well, I've not really seen you in action…or, well, Riri. I've heard about her stuff second hand. Really, the only heroine I've seen sort of in action is Sev. Who I need to introduce you too…" she says, getting a serious look. "Because I could really use your help with her….for what you know about cybernetics."

Dominique winces slightly at the open mention of heroines, but lets it pass rather than draw more attention to it. "I'm happy to consult," she agrees politely. "Probably best not to talk about it in public for the sake of her privacy, though. If it's pressing, we can leave the restaurant and discuss it in detail," she offers.

Toni ohs. "Right, sorry…" she says, looking embarrassed. "Didn't think." She frowns, then mms. "Well. Let's just say some things were done to her that I don't know if I can undo, or help with…but I didn't specialize in man…or woman…machine interfaces like you did." She frowns a bit. "She's had a rough time, and if I can help, I want to." She mms. "…but…well, other than that…do…you want to be in a group like that? I know you have your own stuff, so if you don't…that's fine. But if you do…." She rubs the back of her neck. "…I guess I might turn my warehouse into the, uh, clubhouse. Or whatever. And fund it."

"Of course I do. How can I turn down trust like yours?"

Toni flushes. "…well…um, of course I trust you. I've known you all through school, and after. You're the one of us who knows how people think and how to be social and stuff. I'm not great at that." She pauses. "…Riri and Sev really aren't great at that."

Dominique smiles and spreads her hands. "It's a skill like any other, and even I make mistakes, as you saw just tonight. If you're worried about your abilities, I'd be happy to offer some tips, though I doubt I have anything more useful to say than your average book in the self-help section."

The other woman mmms, then take sa sip from her water, before starting to cut up her chicken. "Well…also I just want us to…y'know. Work together. Get used to working together, to knowing what we all can do and how best to work off each other. If we get in a situation that requres extraordinary measures, I mean."

Dominique nods. "I agree. The difficulty comes in trying to create a training regimen for the scenarios before we've come across them. I have some military training, and the routines all rely on having developed rote responses based on well-known expectations of the soldiers' abilities, applied to situations which can be quickly identified."
(Jocelyn is nodding at this.)
"So some research on my part will be necessary to try to identify the common pitfalls we might encounter, as well the techniques to effectively deal with them."

tToni frowns thoughfully and nods. "And we'd need to set up a obstacle course, or blasting range, or something like that where we can try different scenarios…" she murmurs. "Hmm. We might need more space…maybe I can buy up another warehouse nearby…"

"Infrastructure certainly helps," Dominique agrees. "Though for obstacle courses, are they really necessary? Have you not been testing the limits of your vehicle on your own?"

"Well, sure I have. But the point I was making is, we need to actually train together, rather than just knowing what we individually can do. So we can figure out different tactics and such, and we're prepared for a variety of situations." Toni notes.
Dominique nods her agreement. "I suppose it is better to see each other's capabilities than to simply hear about them," she muses.

"Not just that, but to set up scenarios where we have to use our abilities in conjuction. Teamwork." Toni says. "It's what we're lacking now. That and…well, maybe a little training for that sort of thing in general. I don't think any of us have really done a lot of stuff on our own." Toni admits.

Toni smiles and sets some bills on the table…a generous tip, in addition. "Let's…we can chat at home…" she says, getting to her feet, then walking out with Dominique. On such little things great structures are built…

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