2007-02-27: Sandwiches and Mustard Gas

Starring:

Namir_icon.gif Alyssa_icon.gif Claudine_icon.gif Marcus_icon.gif

Summary:

In Noodle Heaven, Namir, Alyssa, and Claudine run into Marcus. All four of them discuss the effects of mustard gas, and Alyssa gets ideas for her book.

Date It Happened: February 27th, 2007

Sandwiches and Mustard Gas


Noodle Heaven, Lower East Side

Thank God for 24-hour sandwich shops! It's a lengthy walk from the Upper East Side to the Lower East Side, so the subway was employed by the trio. A bit of small talk passed the time between departure and destination, and now they are here. Noodle Heaven is not as busy at this hour as it is during the lunch rush, so there are few patrons. A good number are college kids looking to fill their bellies as they study.

As they approach, Namir holds the door open for Alyssa and Claudine with a warm smile — a sign of old chivalry. It really does die hard.

Alyssa mostly was able to stop herself from grilling Namir on the ride over but it's obvious that she's busting at the seams to start asking questions. Her hurried steps through the opened door and into the sandwich shop seem to express this, and probably a need to escape the biting winds picking up around them. "How nice of you," she does quip to Namir as she passes by, winking, for his chivalry. Inside, she pauses near the counter, taking a step back so that the servers take notice of Claudine instead. She never said she was hungry, herself, after all.

"Thanks so much.." Claudine says softly, definitely appreciating what he's doing and she wrinkles her nose a little as she peers around at the menu. She chews on her bottom lip for a moment as her stomach is starting to grumble now and she hrrms, looking back over to her two companions. "So..what do you recommend here?"

Marcus is sitting in one corner, munching on a sandwich and reading through some paperwork. A nice quiet place to do some work off the clock apparently.

Once Claudine and Alyssa have passed into the shop, Namir follows after, tucking his gloved hands into his pockets. He also casts a glance at the menu, but it's just reflex. Judging by the wave and nod he gets from one of the employees behind the counter, the Middle-Eastern man has been here many times before. "Everything's good here," he replies to Claudine, smiling. "I prefer the club sandwich without bacon and with kosher cheese, but they make a nice cheesesteak here too."

"It's a sandwich place," Alyssa offers somewhat unhelpfully, "What do you like on sandwiches?" After a second of hesitation, she slides forward to the counter and leans forward, "Just hot chocolate. Yeah, thanks," Her hand immediately goes to her purse but then she pauses, twisting on her heels to watch Namir again, "For real? Me too?" In reference to his earlier comment about paying.

Claudine hrmms for a few moments, too focused on food for now to notice Marcus. "I think I'll have the Italian grinder..whatever that is. It sounds good.." she says with a shrug of her shoulders as she takes a look around and finally notices her graduate student mentor! «Marcus! What are you doing here? Always busy I see..» she says in Tagalog with a soft and amused chuckle under her breath. She's still more comfortable speaking in her native tongue, and since he knows it, it's sort of a comfort. «So I ordered the Italian grinder..is it any good or should I just completely change my order?»

Marcus looks up from his work, dropping into fluent Tagalog, with the exact same accent as Claudine, «Italian is good, I really like the meatballs here, you getting along well then?» He waves at Namir as well, recognizing him from last week.

"Of course," chuckles Namir in response to Alyssa's question, "especially if you're just going to order hot chocolate." The last is added jokingly, of course, and when the Middle-Eastern man makes it up to the counter, he needs only to nod at the employee behind the counter. The sandwich maker sets to work immediately on the trio's orders, and that allows Namir the luxury of turning his gaze to Marcus, his focus drawn there after Claudine addresses him in Tagalog. He waves to the younger man, smiling, but it's a bit of a confused expression. Tagalog is not a language he recalls Marcus claiming to know the last time they met. Hmm.

Alyssa stays turned in order to watch the other's interact. She hasn't a clue what language is going on right now, but it's kind of cool just to listen to it because of that. Tilting her head towards Namir, she adds belatedly, "Yeah, I made sure to stuff my face with appetizers before I nipped out of that other place. My parents can just box my order for microwaving later." She shifts weight and then wiggles two fingers at the others, "Know these guys?"

"Oh..I'm sorry.." Claudine says with a bit of a nervous chuckle, reverting back to English. "He's my mentor..we're both on fellowship at Columbia and he's sort of my whole guide to the United States in a way.." she says with an impish giggle while looking over to Namir. "And as for you paying..I'll definitely make sure I pay for a meal for you one of these days. And..well, I dont know whatI was thinking, but I dont think we introduced ourselves to each other. I'm Claudine..Claudine Salonga.." she says before extending her hand to the two before motioning to Marcus. "And that's Marcus.."

Marcus rises from his table, walking over, smothing his three piece suit a little, he offers a hand "Marcus Brooks, pleased to mee you"

"Ah, so you were eating at the Tabla with your parents, then?" Before he gets a chance to respond to Alyssa's question, however, Claudine cuts in, and Namir extends a hand to shake hers, not thinking about the bandages beneath his gloves. He does wince slightly at the woman's grip on his hand, but it's hardly noticeable. "Namir Dayan," he reciprocates, "and yes, I met Mister Brooks earlier this week, though as I recall, Filipino dialects weren't on his list of expertise, last I spoke with him." This is spoken goodnaturedly and his smile doesn't waver, but one eyebrow does slip upward inquisitively. Very curious!

Alyssa keeps her hands to herself until any are offered her and then the shake is firm but quick and soon enough she's got both hands shoved back into her pockets again. "Interesting hidden talent to have," she comments somewhat dryly, though she's soon enough smiling, "Hey, Claudine, Marcus. I'm Alyssa. And yeah, with my bothersome, nosy parents. You're much better company, let me assure you. Plus, you paying doesn't let them point to my bank account and go— ah ha, you fail at life, daughter," Catching herself at rambling, she gives a sudden shake of her head, a brisk laugh, and then gestures vaguely at Namir, "So, all these awesome things you were gonna tell me for my novel?"

"Well, that is curious. He started speaking to me in my native tongue, not too long after I arrived.." Claudine admits ruefully as she ooohs and looks over to Alyssa rather excited. "Writing a novel? What is it about? Is it one of romance? Action? Horror?" now rather intrigued beforelooking backover to Marcus with raised brows. She's curious to find out this explanation as well.

Marcus says, "I picked up Tagalog after I heard I was going to be asked to Mentor our new arrival, I figured it would make transistions easier for her. It's a fascinating language, I actually just started studying it after our last meeting, Mr. Dayan." He is all smiles and sunny cheerfulness, and seems to think theres nothing at all out of the ordinary about learning an obscure pacific Islander dialect in under Seventy-Two hours."

The employees behind the counter finish making the orders and Namir moves to the register to pay, reaching into his pants pocket to retrieve his wallet. All the while, however, he keeps his eyes locked curiously on Marcus. "Really? You're a very fast study, then, Mister Brooks." It took Namir a matter of years to really and truly become fluent in /English/, let alone Tagalog. "I've never heard of anyone picking up a language in three days." A debit card is held out to the employee behind the register, and Namir's attention moves back to Alyssa, to whom he grins. "Ah, yes, I did promise you a little something, didn't I?" he laughs. "Let's get seated first."

Alyssa gives an appreciate whistle for what she's beginning to understand is some guy dedicating himself to learning a language all speedy-like, "That must've eaten up your time like shit for those few days." Noticing that Namir is paying, she turns to retrieve the delivered cup of hot chocolate. The treasured treat is cradled between her hands as she grins, "I believe you did, Mister Dayan," she chirps, then moving swiftly to the closest open table and calling teasingly, "I'm seated!" She calms herself enough after that to blow over her drink and take the first sip, less hesitant than maybe it should've been. The liquid scalds slightly but, oh, it's so good anyway. After swallowing a couple of times she grins to Claudine and Marcus, "And maybe one of ya can offer me a few words in… what was it? Tag…"

"Tagalog.." Claudine says softly as she turns around to retrieve her Italian grinder,fresh and hot with melty cheese and lots of different types of cured Italian meets. "So, care to join us, Marcus?" she asks, while motioning for him to get his stuff to bring to their table. "And I suppose it isnt hard to learn Tagalog if you're familiar with Spanish..or Malay..or Japanese. considering it's influenced by all three languages, it shouldnt be too hard to pick up, but I didnt know you learned it that fast. You must be a polyglot.."
Marcus does collect his stuff, coming back to join your table. he nods, "Most languages are easy once you figure out the simularities that exist among all human dialects. All languages at thier core are really the same, its just vocabulary and inflection."

After he's given his change, Namir collects his sandwich and heads to the table on the heels of the others, taking a seat across from Alyssa. "I'll take your word for it," he chuckles, "and stick with three languages. It keeps my life a little more sane." Learning a language in three days, even after knowing two of its influences fluently, is still something to gawk at. The Middle-Eastern man wonders … but then decides not to worry about it so much. He looks to Alyssa with a smirk. "Well, then, what is it you wanted to know?"

Alyssa hums thoughtfully as she listens to the others talk about learning languages. An absent nibble on the end of her pen and then she grins around it at Namir, "Well, if it isn't totally rude of me to ask… what's mustard gas like? You hear about it, but…" She shrugs, "Again, if it's not too rude. Slightly rude, okay. But -too- rude…" A slight jerk in her seated position signals a sudden remembrance and she adds quickly, "And I dabble in a lot, mostly fantasy, but I've decided I have to sell some short stories to pay for my bread, Claudine, who I totally forgot to answer before, sorry."

All that is forgiven when Claudine's eyes widen, "Mustard gas! You were exposed tomustard gas?!!" When did this happen. Was she so oblivious that she didnt notice? She seems a bit flustered now and looks Namir over, canting her head to the side, and once again, a tremor can be felt..but this time it seems stronger somehow. Maybe it's cause they're sitting next to the source?

Marcus frowns, as he puts his hands on the table after the little rumble, "Thats odd…must have been a big truck passing by outside"

Judging by the grin on Namir's face, he doesn't consider it rude at all, and he's rather amused at Alyssa's babbling. He shakes his head slightly. "Mustard gas is— " He's once again interrupted by the strange tremor, this time a bit stronger than the one outside the Tabla. He hesitates, frowning, watching the salt and pepper shakers rattle on the table before his eyes snap to the others at the table. Marcus obviously felt it. "Mm," grunts the Middle-Eastern man. "Big truck." He's very sure it wasn't a truck.

Alyssa is once again denied of her answer by other circumstances. The rattling of the stuff on the table has her putting a careful hand on her hot chocolate cup. A glance over her shoulder makes her wish she could really see the street from here. "Only if that truck is freakin' stalking us," she suggests, turning back to the others, "That totally happened before, too. Is this, like, an underground… construction.. thing?" Her tone of voice proves she hasn't a clue what she's talking about, but she's trying. Also, that biting of her lip means she wants to mention the possibility of a T-Rex being the perpetrator.

Again..Claudine has no idea what the others are talking about, but it's mainly due to the fact that she's at the epicenter and as any physicist would know, waves travel away from its source. However, the water and the hot chocolate do not lie. "Well..I didnt feel it again, but I'm sure it's just a truck..or maybe some construction..or maybe something in the sewer system?"

Marcus nods, "One of the bigger Alligators must have indigestion something Fierce"

"Mm." Namir still doesn't seem convinced, but he lets it slide after a moment. One tremor is something. Two? Not so easy to ignore. "At any rate, mustard gas isn't something you'd want to tangle with. It makes everything burn. If you inhale it, your throat, mouth, nose, and chest burns. If it touches your skin, it feels like you're on fire. Your eyes burn. Imagine all of that at once, and no way to really escape it."

A nod goes for each thing Namir says, one part just going into her head and the rest getting etched with ink onto what space is available on the back of her hand. "Why would someone use that?" She asks absently, "I assume /they're/ not anywhere in the vicinity. Or suited up. Which, I think, would make them look pretty obvious." Mulling it all a second, she questions, "So do you treat it like a burn, too? You only said it /felt/ like you're on fire…" Since the 'truck' seems to have passed, she sets the hot chocolate back down without looking where.

"1,1-thiobis-2chloroethane.." Claudine says softly under her breath as she hrmms and listens for a few moments from the system. "That makes sense, it's a strong alkylating agent, so the reaction must be very exo.." and that's when she stops, her cheeks flushing with a bright tinge of red. "Sorry..chemistry and biochem is sort of my thing…um..please continue.."

Marcus grins and pats Claudine's hand reassuringly, then leans back as he picks his sandwich back up and bites into it, listening

"Not really. It's treated a bit— " When Claudine speaks up, Namir looks to her with a smile, pleasantly surprised when she puts in her own bit of information. When she stops, he grins and chuckles softly. "Not at all! I think you'd actually be able to tell her more about treating it than I could." And he has no problems with being interrupted either.

Alyssa looks between Claudine and Namir as they both continue to talk and then, upon being prompted, she leans in towards Claudine instead, "Yeah, what's this you're spouting off now? Not that I'll /understand/ any of it… I mean, I totally suck with the whole science parts but anything that doesn't click can always be Googled. It's just nicer to hear it from someone's real mouth- okay, go!" Except not, because first Alyssa has to point her pen ominously at Marcus, "And you're next."

"No, no..go ahead. I apologize. Please, go on with your story..I just remember doing a project on it backin high school, explaining the chemistry and whatnot.." Claudine says with a nervous little chuckle as she looks over to her sandwich and starts taking a bite out of it. She just sort of gets on these nerdy little streaks before blinking a little at Alyssa. «Looks like she wants to interview you as well» she tells Marcus..

«She can…um» He gets bright red as he realized he spoke outloud, even if in Tagalog, he quickly changes the subject "Actually the most interesting part about Mustard gas is its effect on the human genome and DNA"
From afar (to Lee, Cass, and Namir), Nima (Nim) laughs. "There's a WoW Guild called My Little Pwny. Awesome!"

"Mm-hmm," murmurs Namir, nodding his head. He can't coherently respond until he's swallowed the bite of sandwich he took seconds ago. After he's done so, he adds, "They were telling me something of the sort in the hospital. I may be a mutant now!" It's a joke, of course, evinced by his smirk and low laugh. "Or I might just contract cancer." This last idea doesn't seem to concern him much.

Whatever disappointment Alyssa might have shown for Claudine declining is gone. "Mustard gas… can make /mutants/?" She blurts loudly. There's the briefest second where she retracts her hands from the table nervously, but then all the writer's excitement is back. "I mean, theoretically, I could use that in some sort of plot and not sound completely retarded?"

"It's an alkylating agent. And it's nonspecific, meaning that if it gets in your cells, it can disrupt RNA transcription and DNA replication.." Claudine says matter of factly while running her fingers through her hair as if it was nothing. The girl knows her stuff! "But I dont think it would make you amutant..at least not in the sense that the guy who wrote Activating Evolution means it. If anything, increased exposure will cause in cancer, but that's if you were exposed to it heavily.." And then her brows raise a bit, "How much were you exposed to?"

Marcus nods at Claundine's reply, "Mustard gas does no damage at all immediatly but within a few hours it mutates your dna to cause blisters and damage to the skin, you can't really cure it because by that point its not an outside agent its already inside your body, like a Cancer, I guess if this were a comic book then gamma irradiated mustard gas could have other effects on DNA" He grins kinda lopsidedly

Hmm, mustard-gas mutants. Very sci-fi. Namir is amused by the thought, but his response is made to Claudine: with a shake of his head, he utters, "Not much, thankfully. It was neutralized before anyone on the ferry got hit too hard with it — except for the man who died, that is, but he likely died from the gunshot wound rather than the gas itself. The hospital told me I should be safe, but they'll be running more tests in the future to be sure."

Alyssa frowns to have her plans discredited before she even makes them, but Marcus' continuation seems to bring back some hope. She's leaning in to make a different query when the polytonic strains of "Dragostea Din Tei" (the Numa Numa song) waft up from inside her purse. Wincing, Alyssa pushes to her feet as one hand goes to fetch the singing cellphone, "That's… probably the folks. I'm guessing they just noticed I was missing over dessert." Said with a sense of impending DOOM. She seems to want to say more and she even starts to hand the pen to Namir, but the insistent ring-tone finally gets her away from the others and taking the call.

"Well that's good. You never know what can happen with that.." Claudine says with a warm smile as she digs into her sandwich, polishing it off in several bites. Looks like she was hungry afterall. "And next time, let me pay for your sandwich okay? So you better be all right.." she chirps.

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