brian_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Amtullah
Synopsis Eileen discloses one of the Ferrymen's best kept secrets to Brian.
Date October 9, 2011

Pollepel Island

A small pile of backpack lay in a heap near a wall of the common area. All but forgotten. Three boys stand in front of a man, heads back and eyes up in a position that can only mean one thing.

A lecture is happening.

Paul, Joe, and Lance stand amidst the replicator's semi-fury in varying states of anguish bordering on apathy. However bored their faces may be, the replicator has not finished his teaching moment.

"That's why we have to help each other. We were each given a different piece of the puzzle. And the place we're in now, we shouldn't use those pieces to hurt or even tease each other. Because we have to be on each others team that much. We're family. And I don't care how silly you think her ability is, you need to leave her alone about it."

Brian Winters folds his arms over his chest. "Honestly, this is one of the scariest times we've been in guys. We all have to be at the top of our game. I know, laughing makes things easier. But she's in a tough spot too. So you need to respect that. So really. If I hear from her that any of you have asked her to make a fart smell again…"

The threat is left to implication as the man straightens. "You need to finish getting your things together. Paul. Lance. I want you to keep practicing your abilities while you pack. And leave Juniper alone." With that the three boys are dismissed walking down the short hallway, a gaggle of giggles heard coming from their way not too long after their mandated silence has ended.

Brian gives a light sigh as he watches them go, his gaze turning to the backpacks.

Pollepel is a small island, and Bannerman Castle smaller still. There's not much that goes unnoticed inside these halls, and rumours of Eve's vision have already turned the organization upside down in the quietest way possible. In the span of only a few days, there have been more meetings behind closed doors than anyone can remember, although the Council has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about what — if anything — it plans to do.

People are more cautious now, more tentative in their interactions with one another in this time of uncertainty. A week ago, someone might have tried to engage the boys on their way down the hall. Today no one will even look them in the eye as they pass.

Rumours of Brian's plan to relocate the Lighthouse orphans are running wild, too.

"Winters," says a voice from the doorway a few moments later, after Brian's charges have safely rounded the corner and begun making their way down the nearest stairwell. It's sort of a hello.

Once the children have gone, Brian goes about to tending to the backpacks, checking any zipper or binding, and doublechecking. As his hands search, he starts to hum, though it is quickly cut off. 'Winters' is called. Faithful to his namesake the man freezes over. Tensing up at the voice he has to force himself to visibly relax after he is called out.

Slowly straightening to his full height, the former agent slowly turns to face the dakrened doorway.


She seems like she should take up more space than she does. Even when her back is an iron rod and her shoulders are perfectly squared, Eileen's shape lets plenty of ambient light into the room on account of its size. Like the island. Like the castle. There's a reason the Vanguard used to affectionately call her Tiny.

She wears her hair pulled back into a tight knot at the nape of her neck that lends her an air of authority and makes her face look the way she likes it: severe. Her clothes are a utilitarian blend of leather and wool, designed with function in mind rather than fashion, and are speckled with tiny flecks of snow that haven't yet melted. She hasn't been standing there very long.

"I'd like to show you something," she offers, a little softer. "If you'll let me."

The size disparity definitely leans in Winters' favor should a spark be set off. Add in the fact that there can be twenty of him on a moments notice weighs on that scale as well. But despite those things his unease is palpable as they square off initially. Tensing there, he gives only a nod to her words.

"Of course."

Forcing down the sourness he feels, Winters turns to the piles of packs. Going to one knee his hands go to fiddle with them for a moment. Pulling pouches and adjusting zippers. He's doing nothing. Nothing that needs to be done. But it stalls for a moment.

"Yeah, sure. What's up?" The man stands after 'completing his task' and makes a few loping steps toward her forcing himself to take on a more relaxed demeanor.

Eileen shrinks from the doorway and into the hall. Her footfalls carry her away from Brian's room at a leisurely but purposeful pace; either she knows the castle so well that she doesn't need a bird to see, or she has one tucked under the collar of her coat, guiding her from behind the safety of a stiff lapel.

"The information I'm about to share with you is highly classified," she continues, never more than a half step ahead of him as they make their way down the corridor. "Only a handful of our operatives are aware of it. That excludes some Council."

Falling in pace with her, his hands get tucked into the pouch pockets on his hoodie. Protecting his hands from the cold he litls his head to the side, listening. Walking through the castle brings some normalcy, the tension eeking from him as they manage the hallways of Bannerman castle. At her words, Brian arches a brow.


Is the only thing he asks, his eyes running over Eileen's back, scrutinizing her form heavily as if discerning her intent from her figure.

"No," is Eileen's carefully monosyllabic answer. If plans on leading Brian to his death, she's being very casual about it. And very foolish. There are too many of him to put down with a bullet in the back of the head or a knife punched cleanly through the throat.

Their route leads them down two flights of stone steps and past a set of reinforced double doors that Eileen has to unlock with an old-fashioned set of keys that dangle invitingly at her hip beneath the heavier fabric of her coat. It's several minutes before they arrive at their destination: a room at the end of a hall that neither Brian nor any of his clones have set foot in before. Eileen presses a bare hand against the wooden door but does not open it yet. "Epstein knows. Bennett. Ryans. I'm hoping you'll understand…"

Eyes flit wildly as they move into sections of the castle previously unknown. Memorizing the steps. Studying the doors, gauging how easily a phaser could get through such a thing if need be. He watches where the keys go after they unlock the door and disappear. All the while walking casually behind her, his hands tucked into his hoodie.

"Bennett." He repeats dully. A tinge of vitriol in histone.

Nodding, as the door opens he instinctually flinches, shoulders squaring, muscles tensing as if ready to be struck. Then stands still, waiting for his eyes to adjust.

After all this ceremony, Eileen simply— knocks.

There's no immediate answer, which causes her to hesitate. She tries talking instead. "Amtullah," she calls softly through the door. "It's Eileen."

And then the door opens without anyone having to turn the handle. Inside the room is a bed. Inside the bed is an old woman. Both bed and woman are unremarkable in comparison to the lush garden growing around them. Rain mists down from the ceiling and forms a fine, iridescent layer of dew on the ferns and moss that blanket the floor in green. The air is impossibly damp and warm for the season, and smells like fat purple lilacs. Flowers droop sleepily in the room's soft, candlelit glow, and as Brian's senses absorb everything that's in front of him, a butterfly alights on the tip of his nose.

"It isn't real," Eileen says. "None of it is, except for her. But she's very good."

A deep breath is taken, breathing in their new surroundings. His finger comes off to shoo off the phsyical presence of the butterfly. His features going askew. "I don't know what I was expecting." Winters reaches out to the door, pressing at what they opened. "The door? Not real?" The former agent is testing his weight against it carefully before turning his attention to the woman.

"She is very good." Winters steps in line with Eileen, surveying the wondrous sight around them. "Hello there." He calls out to the woman. "Amtullah?" He asks quickly to Eileen at his side before, "Asalam alaykum."

The old woman makes a low moaning sound at the back of her throat that sounds like it might be the beginning of a word, but either lacks the strength or the motivation to finish it. "She can hear you," Eileen tells him, venturing deeper into the room. "That's about all." The Englishwoman's feet leave shallow indents in the moss that spring slowly back as she crosses to her woman's bedside. There's a pan there, filled with a dark, thin liquid that's almost certainly urine. "Why do you think Heller hasn't found us yet?" she asks Brian as she hefts the pan and moves to cast its contents out the room's open window, down into the stewing river water below. "It isn't because they aren't looking here."

"That did seem like something of a plot hole." Brian muses absentmindedly as he takes in the surroundings. He steps towards the old woman in the bed giving her a very warm smile. "She's been protecting us down here." Sympathy tears cleanly through his voice, warmly gazing down at the woman before him. "Shukriya, Amtullah.

"Does she understand english? Are we reading to her or.." The questions fall silent as the young man slowly rips his attention from her to turn and face Eileen.

"Why are you introducing me, now?" Sympathy gone and something darker, more fearful resides in his tone now.

"You see what she wants you to." Eileen sets the bedpan back down on the floor, wiping her hands off on a towel that had been hanging on the window's ledge. "Heller's men see what we want them to. His planes fly over the island and it's just the way it used to be. Forgotten."

She turns her attention back to the woman on the bed and shows a sliver of a smile. "She speaks some English. Her daughter's is better, you may have seen her around. She reads. Looks after, tends to. Keeps Amtullah alive."

Keeps them all alive.

"I'm introducing you because I need you to trust me," Eileen says, "like I'm trusting you now." Another butterfly attaches itself to Brian's shoulder, its wings rising and falling in perfect time with the raspy rhythm of Amtullah's breath. "Can you do that?"

Watching Eileen handle the bedpan, Brian glances out the window briefly. Returning his gaze to Amtullah he walks over to her and his shoulders sag some. "We owe her a lot." It's weak and soft.

The butterfly gets a light smile, his finger rising up to see if she will have it dance on his finger.

"I can do my very best." He murmurs, looking over his new imaginary pet butterfly to meet her gaze. "It's a hard thing to do these days, but I'll give it all I got."

"You want to move the children off of the island." Eileen brushes a stray curl of silver-white hair away from the corner of Amtullah's mouth and tucks it behind her ear. "We have operatives headed to Alaska. Others are preparing to take down the Institute's facility at Cambridge. I don't have many of our soldiers to spare, but I can lend you a private escort. More guns if you need them. Some body armor."

"Bodies. I can supply. There won't be many soldiers you can give me that are better than me. And I have the added bonus of not having to hold any funerals after my deaths." He offers an easy smile at that. "Guns. Body armor. Is welcome. Anyone that has an ability to help us get off the water." He glances up at her, swallowing hard. Gathering his momentum.

"And any kids that are without families. Not just the kids I brought. Any that don't have a family here."

Eileen's inner conflict manifests in the sudden tension in her jaw and the arch of one high black brow. It's clear that she hadn't been expecting him to try to negotiate with her.

She isn't saying no, either.

Instead, a compromise: "Orphans is the word I think you're looking for. I'll allow it as long as they're twelve years old or younger."

"I try not to use that word as much, anymore." He remains resolute under the scrutiny of that high brow. Waiting with his spine made of iron for the answer. At her compromise he nods. "Fine." He looks over his shoulder at the woman on the bed. "Shukriya, Amtullah. Shukriyah."

Feeling somewhat triumphant he takes a step towards the door. "I am going to stay behind with Samara after I leave. Baby is due any day now. It was recommended we wait at least two weeks before traveling with the baby. So that's what I'm going to do. Leave with the kids right away, then wait for the baby, and two weeks later we're gone.

"I suggest you find a way to do the same."

There's that sliver of a smile again. Eileen respects Brian, if nothing else. "I'll take it under advisement," she concedes. "Now get out."

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