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Mania     After the Moment of Silence, Xenia would have received a summons from Sam himself saying that he can see her in the Diner's kitchen when she had free time to stop by. Apparently thinking she was impressed by or had criticism for his pastries at the meeting.
Xenia Xenia is nothing if not prompt. She arrives at the diner in a freshly-laundered Vault suit, boots polished, hair freshly brushed and styled. And a clipboard and notepad for taking notes. This meeting promises to be informative, or so she hopes. Which is always a good hope when one is a supervisor-in-training on unfamiliar ground, with troubling questions to ask. Giving her look one last quick check in the reflection off the diner's window glass, she takes a deep breath, then knocks on the door to the diner's kitchen.
Mania     "Come in!" someone shouts from the kitchen, someone else shouts, "We're busy cookin' heah!" but eventually the door is opened by a well-groomed lad, probably one of the cooks' kid. The kid nods at Xenia and steps to the side,

    "Come into the belly of hell, if you dare!"
Xenia Xenia blinks at the kid's opening line, her professional smile faltering for a moment. "Catchy greeting," she says, by way of redirection. "Do you say that to everyone who comes in here? Um, I'm Xenia McCarty, and I was looking for Samuel Gourmet... he's expecting me."
Mania     The kid turns his nose up and sniffs, "Yeah I guess so. Dad doesn't like it though." he grumps, "Sammy's in the back, he's always somewhere around the freezer."
Xenia Xenia resummons her professional smile, managing a touch of warmth for the boy. "Thank you so much. And for what it's worth, it's not a bad line. Maybe you've got a future in stories and legends," she replies, with a warmth to match her smile. "Take care." Taking a moment to brush a stray lock of hair back into place and steeling herself against the heat and humidity of the kitchen, she starts toward the back, careful of the busy cooks moving around in the course of their duties.
Mania     Sam Gourmet, to description, is in the back of the kitchen near the freezer and back door. The kid scampers on ahead of Xenia and gets Sam's attention, before he storms off to the sink to work on dishes. Sam looks to Xenia and nods "Hey! You wanted something?"
Xenia "Yes, actually," Xenia replies to the gourmet named Gourmet, calling on memories of professional women in Howard Hawks movies to aid her in her fact-finding mission. "Are you Sam Gourmet? I'm Xenia McCarty... very nice to finally meet you," she adds, offering a hand to her would-be host. "And I've been curious about some rumors I've been hearing regarding your work."
Mania     Sam nods and accepts the hand, shaking, then raising his brow. "Well, Xenia, what rumours have you heard? Maybe I can dispell any unsavoury mistruths going around." he offers
Xenia "Well, the prominent one is that you've been getting giant mole rat carcasses from Utilities... that the creatures have been wandering into the Vault from somewhere, the Utilities have been killing them, and that they've been providing you the dead creatures for your work," Xenia replies, frankly, working hard to keep her tone even and nonjudgemental. "And no, I'm not judging the practice, if it /is/ true... I don't know enough about the creatures or your work to judge. That's why I'm here."
Mania     Sam hears the rumour about mole-rat carcasses and shakes his head. "Think you got it wrong, I don't deal with any mole rat bodies in my work." he says in a quick reply, "Who even told you such a thing? That's gross negligence on multiple parts you know."
Xenia "Again, that's why I'm here... to verify the rumors or put them to rest," Xenia replies, frowning just slightly. "Such rumors as that can cause trouble in a place as enclosed as this Vault. As for who told me, I can't really say... I've heard it so many times I can't remember everyone who has said something about it. I doubt any of the rumormill output was first-hand."
Mania     Sam sighs, "Well, that's pretty bad then. I'm not sure how to bounce back if the rumour's that spread." he says, "Did you have any other questions for me?" he asks
Xenia "The elders of the Vault seemed very taken with your work. If anyone can put you over, it's them," Xenia points out gently. "Though I was wondering if you usually use smoke flavoring on your pastries? Maybe the ones from the gathering were a bad batch; they do happen."
Mania     Sam looks around, "Well I can't help from some contamination, can get smokey in the kitchen when everyone's going and pastries can soak up smoke and such from the air while being prepared." he insists.
Xenia "That's curious... I've never had such a thing happen before, and I've eaten pastry at this diner not less than once a week for longer than I can remember," Xenia muses. "One or two were a little scorched, but never smoked."
Mania     Sam huhs, "I guess it's just luck of the draw, then." Xenia probably has an idea that he was fibbing about the smoke contamination. "Don't presume you've ever worked in a fully staffed kitchen either."
Xenia Xenia's blue eyes narrow. "I haven't, sir... but if it's luck of the draw, then by all means /say/ it's luck of the draw. People appreciate an honest mistake over a shaky excuse every day of the week and twice on Saturdays." She glances back out into the kitchen thoughtfully. "Also, I was wondering if you know Lady Sanguinee... I wouldn't mind a word with her sometime over her excellent and curiously novel drink recipes."
Mania     Sam rubs the back of his head, "I worked with her in the cafe for the meeting. You could look over there and see what you can find out, I don't know too much about her."
Xenia "I'll... keep that in mind," Xenia replies, hesitantly, her smile stopping in the middle of returning to her face, in a faint grimace. "Do you know of any other places where I might find her?"
Mania     Sam shakes his head, "I don't, unfortunately. You can try asking the other cooks but I really do not know." he answers with a small frown.
Xenia "Not to lecture you, Mr. Gourmet, but you really should trust /someone/ outside of this kitchen," Xenia points out, slightly less gently than before. "Because right now, you're not doing a very good job of motivating me to help you quash these unlovely rumors. Not that I would /add/ to them myself... it's unprofessional and rather irresponsible. But I'm a busy woman, and there are only so many hours in a day."
Mania     Sam rubs the back of his head some. "Alright, so.. what do you wanna know then?" he asks, not wanting to have to deal with negatives if he can avoid them.
Xenia "First off, is there any truth at all to the rumors that our Utility workers are killing giant mole rats that are somehow making their way into the Vault and delivering the dead creatures to you?" Xenia asks, more gently this time. "Many of these Utilities are people I supervise. Unfounded rumors are a problem for me, too."
Mania     Sam eeeehs, "Yeah they do. I add it into some meals to make supplies last longer. Some people prefer the taste anyway." he says
Xenia "I'm not wholly opposed to the idea. I know our supplies are finite, and that we will need to supplement them. But I am concerned about safety," Xenia says softly, with a faint and thoughtful little pout. "After all, these creatures are from outside the Vault, and clearly abnormal compared to what we know of the old world. Is there any danger in consuming them?"
Mania     Sam shrugs, "Beats me but nobody's had food poisoning or run to medical from my meals yet." he says
Xenia "That's... not a terribly encouraging answer. So let's hope that trend continues ad infinitum," Xenia muses. "And whatever you've done with adding them to pastry? The flavoring seems to still need work."
Mania     Sam huhs, "I just made a meal out of some steaks and bone and baked'm in." he says, "Closer to a meat pie with fruit flavour."
Xenia "Maybe it's just me, but I don't think smoke flavoring and lemon bar flavoring go well together at all," Xenia replies gently. "That type of meal might serve better in a different recipe."
Mania     Sam shrugs, "It was an experiment. I hear Kobe's Banana Beef bars went well at the last cafe party so I tried lemon and rat.." he says with a sigh.
Xenia "Banana... beef..? I must have missed that party..." Xenia murmurs thoughtfully, suppressing a shudder.
Mania     Sam nods, "He said the idea was something between a long-kept family recipe and a very, very old thing from a holo. Before the resource wars even." he explains. "Wasn't bad."
Xenia "I may have to talk to him about that recipe sometime. Do you know where I might find him?" Xenia asks. "Or this Margaret Sanguinee, to revisit that topic for a moment?"
Mania     Sam nods, "Yeah, Kobe works in security, does volunteer dishes sometimes." he explains, "Does a lot of beef dishes."
Xenia "That... somehow makes a great deal of sense, actually," Xenia observes. "For what it may be worth, the elders at the diner gathering seemed to be touting both yours and Margaret Sanguinee's wares heavily." She leaves out the fact that none of them were eating or drinking any of the said wares...
Mania     Sam nods, "Well Margaret's somewhat popular at the Cafe, and sometimes people request me to cook their food specifically." minor celebrity status?
Xenia "Hmm... do you remember anyone who requests that of you often?" Xenia asks, making a mental note to visit the cafe in the very near future to talk to this Margaret Sanguinee.
Mania     Sam uhs, "Little Joe, Big Joe, Mister Balsam, Miss Vinegar, and Tom Nook are the most frequent." he answers offhand. "Margaret I don't know where she hangs around but she works midday shift at the Cafe."
Xenia "I don't think I know most of those names, but maybe I've just never met them face-to-face. Anyway, thank you for your time and your help, Mr. Gourmet. I shall try to quash some of these rumors, or at least make them less jarring," Xenia says, making a few last notes.
Mania     He nods, "Anything else then before ya go?" he asks
Xenia "Actually, yes," Xenia murmurs, recalling another issue she'd almost forgotten about. "Are there any particular Utilities who are bringing you these rats? I'll admit, I've never seen anyone carrying any large, dead rats around."
Mania     Sam nods slowly, "I hear it's Bob, should give him a talk eh?" he asks.
Xenia "Perhaps so. Thank you again for your help," Xenia replies, smiling (professionally, of course) and turning to leave. "I hope your day only gets better, Mr. Gourmet."
Mania     Sam nods and smiles back, "Yours too Xenia. Have a nice one." he bids, then turns to resume work.