15249/The Power of Bird

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The Power of Bird
Date of Scene: 23 June 2023
Location: Los Pollos Hermanos, Old Gotham
Synopsis: Somehow, Emily Sung convinces a young woman about the importance of learning. About ancient Egypt. And chickens. Also, swearing happens.
Cast of Characters: Element Woman, Batgirl (Cain)

Element Woman has posed:
Element Woman is standing in line waiting to order chicken! Mm, chicken.

No, step back.

Los Pollos Hermanos is a clean location. Tile floors. Tasteful decorations. Is it Mexican-themed? Yes, but not to the point of either being So Ethnic You Can't Live With Itor being Offensive. The particular location is one in the general area of Upper West Hill, about five blocks from a GCC campus.

Which is why...

"I really should have driven," says Element Woman to herself. Or perhaps more accurately:

Emily Sung.

Because at the moment, she almost looks normal. Almost is a relative term; she's wearing a trainer jacket and biking gloves. Long pants. Ankle high boots. Most of them even look like real garments, albeit vaguely grimy. She has a ball cap on as well, although it's an odd fit that makes her hair look worse; squashed polymers. She is holding a piece of paper in one hand, with a great number of individual orders carefully transcribed in a cheery, cursive-heavy script.

The problem is that the line is five people deep, and everyone in FRONT of her is apparently ALSO doing the lunch order. Or a DoorDash or Uber Eats or HenChow (brought to you by Hench) pickup, which is about the same thing.
Batgirl (Cain) has posed:
Cassandra Cain has so many secrets to keep. So many hidden facets to herself she doesn't share with the world.

She is Batgirl, dedicated vigilante, defender of the downtrodden, so on and so forth. She is the child of assassins, trained to kill and always at least faintly concerned her fate is to follow in their footsteps.

She totally sometimes orders _two_ value meals like she's ordering takeout for a friend and herself.

But it is all for her. This is her darkest secret.

For her part, Cass looks pretty normal in a very... sullen unapproachable college student way. Dark hoodie with a scowling purple cartoon unicorn on the back, dark jeans, thick soled combat boots.

The boots are 100% a tactical consideration. The hoodie? The hoodie is for herself.

And so Cassandra finds herself _fourth_ in line... and while the brief glance at the woman behind her through the nearest convenient reflective surface doesn't display any automatic weapons or bombs... something is unusual.

Her lips press into a thin line that goes from 'sullen' to 'vaguely concerned' as she dares a swift glance over her shoulder to take in the woman a little more intently. "Oh. You have... a list."

Her lips quirk slightly and she gestures, offering to let this woman go ahead of her.

Definitely not so she can try to puzzle out what's tweaking her entirely imaginary danger sense.
Element Woman has posed:
There are many who fall into the sensual, salted allure of chicken. Cassandra Cain will not be the first.

Nor the last.

Emily looks upwards as someone addresses her. "Huh?" she says. Then, "Oh, yes!" with a beaming smile. "It's kind of retro, I know, but I try not to carry my phone when I don't ha-a-ave to; I have problems with static electricity and things." And then -

"Oh!" (My god, thinks the Element Woman. She's being so kind...) "Oh, gosh, but you probably have to get to class and everything. If you're just going to be quick, please, go ahead!" (Maybe we could be friends? No, I need to not come on too strong, and she's probably a STUDENT you just SAID, ugh!! Don't fraternize excessively! There was a *training*!!)
Batgirl (Cain) has posed:
Cassandra nods her head in a small, curt, very 'Yes, of course, static electricity. I understand why that would be a problem, provided you have no further questions.' way.

She shakes her head and allows the slightest little lopsided grin, "Oh, no! You've got a list. You'll be quicker. I still need to decide." She frowns. "...There were eight people in line when I entered. Deciding is... tricky."

Because there are so many delicious options. Cass doesn't quite come off as a student, between the lack of laptop, books, and... general odd vibe she puts off, most likely. "Are you ordering for a... department meeting?" Eyebrows furrow slightly. They're near the campus. Campuses have departments that do meetings. This is a very good guess, she is sure.
Element Woman has posed:
"I understand completely," Emily says in a smaller, conspiratorial voice. Then she blinks. And looks at the list. "Oh! Well, yes and no," she says. "Yes because I am picking up lunch for a couple of people, BUT I'm also doing a lecture on Egyptian agriculture and the question of the domestication of the chicken. I don't want to bore you if it's not your field of interest," Emily adds, with a certain hopeful cast. Please let her bore you. Please.

"Ugh" says someone who came in behind her, which she buoyantly ignores. "Also is it your first time? Because I'd get a #3 and get La Papas Harlaquinas for the side."
Batgirl (Cain) has posed:
There's a slow blink from Cassandra, as her eyes dart from the list, to Emily's face, to the menu... back around... a few orbits. "...So the chicken is for... further grasping the lesson?" She sounds skeptical. For one thing, she does not think this is very similar to the original cooking method used for domesticated chickens."

She clears her throat and shakes her head swiftly. "Oh no. I've been here... uh..." She presses her lips into a thin 'I have been here too much' line. It speaks volumes, "That is definitely a good choice, and probably what I will go with. I did a lot of running last night."

She nods solemnly. She has earned her treat. "So... what... were the chickens like? The past chickens?"

She just can't help it. She has to be polite. Even if it means learning about ancient agricultural practices.
Element Woman has posed:
"Yes!" Emily says. "I find that kind of thing really helps people understand!"


'corny as hell but just accepts any absence excuse. think shes mutant'

"Chickens actually were domesticated quite early in human history," continues Emily, "but the thing is that when we say history we're actually talking about something quite recent. You might imagine that everything began when they started writing things down somewhere near Kahndaq, but that's not true - that's just when records began, *because now records existed*. It's a little like how even if there's a massive apocalypse we're almost certainly going to keep making radio waves!"

She sounds excited. About the radio waves.

"So the original chicken was actually domesticated somewhere in Indochina, or rather, what we now call Indochina," Emily continues, "and there's a lot of contention about when exactly it reached other parts of the world. The thing is that most of Egypt's reputation for antiquity was because of an early and very stable form of government that had writing, as well as the climate helping things be preserved. There might have been even greater empires that built things out of biodegradable materials in wetter climates and we'd have *no idea* about them, isn't that wild?"

The line moves forwards. This will not last forever, Cassandra.
Batgirl (Cain) has posed:
Cass's head nods in solemn, even rapt attention. While most students might feign attentiveness to ancient agricultural practices, Cass is actually paying attention to it. Oh, she might not memorize every detail. But at some point, on some stakeout, out will slip Cassandra's Chicken Facts.

"Well, hopefully we will not be subject to any massive apocalypses in the near future. I have much TV to catch up on."

The delivery is a little deadpan, a little dry... but entirely serious also. She really does have a lot of TV to catch up on!

She watches the line move inexorably towards this lecture ending. "What is your course called? Maybe I could sign up. I have been meaning to..." She chews her lower lip thoughtfully, "Get out more. School is important. I've been told."
Element Woman has posed:
"Here's hoping," Emily says as they move forwards. "Oh! I teach Intro to Archaeology - there's actually just the one course for me but I teach three sessions. There's the afternoon ones on MWF, which is of course what I have tonight, and a morning on Tuesday and Thursday, and an online section too. Do you go to GCC?"

It's community college.

There is now only one person between Emily and the legal acquisition of fried bird. "A lot of people are just there for the credits but I'm hoping that their eyes open up a little--" And then she gasps in sudden shock.

That's because the person in front of her just said the fudge word to the clerk, if in a conversational everyday tone of voice.

Only he didn't say fudge, you see. He said THE word.
Batgirl (Cain) has posed:
Cassandra's nodding firmly, sternly, face serious, because... well, her face is almost always serious. Rumors are she has smiled. But no one is willing to confirm it. "Oh, not right now. I was... supposed to enroll last semester. Things were... busy." She shrugs lightly

"That sounds flexible enough to work into her schedule... the online portion will help. She can always pause between units to go stop a bank robbery or beat up a couple of street gangs while she percolates on lessons.

Eyebrows perk as the customer ahead of them speaks _terribly_ inappropriate language! That is a 'Cass just broke your shin' word, good sir! That is not for customer service professionals!!

Lips press into a thin line, eyes narrow slightly, a brief but terribly clear expression on Cass's face. Cass does not approve!

But Cass is also meeting this interesting woman, and not in costume, and giving this man a concussion for his potty mouth would no doubt be called 'extreme' by Alfred.

And Cass does not want to deal with another disapproving Alfred stare... no matter how tightly her fingers curl into fists.
Element Woman has posed:
"Nobody should ever say fuck to a cashier!" Emily declares, so don't worry, Cassandra, it's covered.

And enrollment for the fall semester...



(that campaign cost $530,000 and did not meaningfully affect enrollment)