b_eileen_icon.gif young-magnes_icon.gif b_sable_icon.gif

Also featuring:

donna-varlane_icon.gif hiro_icon.gif

Scene Title Cakewalk
Synopsis Sable and Eileen are recruited to rescue a 10-year-old Magnes before a mysterious villain can erase him from the present day forever. But first, they have to get through a formidable foe: Mrs. Varlane.
Date April 2, 1998

New York City, Brooklyn

1998 in Brooklyn is not so different to that of 2010. There are more people. There's an unbroken city skyline, if you have the advantage to look. If Eileen casts her eyes as far as the hawk that wheels over thermals in the high, blue dome of the atmosphere, she will see an intact Midtown, teeming with life. But down on the street level, however, Sable won't immediately recognise any obvious differences, with the brown faces of brownstone houses cramped together as tight as keys on a piano somewhere further down the street, wrought black iron in the fencing and the circular spirals set in the ground from which tame trees spring.

It's warmer, at least, and a little later in the day than when she was plucked from her Bronx apartment.

"Rhys was unable to identify the killer," Hiro is explaining, in his short and sharp way he does. He leads them down the road, a rather conspicuous sight in all his grey, black, his sword strapped between his shoulder blades, and his slick ponytail drawn at the nape of his neck. "He is the postcognitive that saw the effects of change in this time. But he knows she was a woman."

That day, Sable had discovered her crane had moved where she had set it last — it had been shifted to her kitchen counter, looking somewhat guilty for it. At her consent, given some opportunity to prepare, and then whisked away a few minutes later after the mantra: there is not much time. Eileen had almost been an afterthought, secured, perhaps, for her ability to monitor, and for her work in 1900, her experience. Her questions had been more difficult. A little confusing, actually.

But she had gone too, and now, the three are moving down a street in Brooklyn. Hiro explains what he can.

As ever, it's not much.

Sable has managed to take almost all of this well in stride. A certain kind of insanity, paranoiac in nature, can be a real help when dealing with what Sable previous considered time travel bullshit. She does not, any longer, consider it bullshit. Quite the contrary.

She considers it destiny.

The universe, she thinks, is weaving together the elements she already knows to be constitutive of her life, her most dearly beloved. It is both creating and confirming the suspicion that all that has happened is meant to be and in fact must be, if things are to unfold as they should. That doesn't mean Sable is non-chalanate. She listens carefully to Hiro, taking him seriously despite his… um… having a sword. This is crucial, she knows. Fate doesn't happen. Time spent with Tamara has assured her of that. Fate is a path you choose, something requiring will to realize. She's on board. She's engaged. She's ready.

What surprises Sable more than anything else is, in fact, Eileen's presence. What the fuck is she doing there? How does she fit into the formation of the band?

Paranoiac tendencies have their drawbacks, being, at heart, highly irrational. And Eileen gets all sorts of glances and assessments from Sable whenever she has spare attention. Who the avian telepath is to Sable was, she thought, as distant and somewhat distrusted representation of the Ferry's Mannish tendencies. But this… this changes everything.

Though Sable can figure all that out when she's got a spare moment. Not when she's trying to save the life of one of her best loved. "A chick. Got it. Y'all know, like, how my boy gets shuffled off? Like, what kinda way we should know t' protect 'im? Keep 'im away from windows or, like, whatever?" Very professional, this prep. Very nice.

Eileen has been, for the most part, quiet. The whisper of her footsteps and the rustle of her clothes — a textured blend of soft but durable leather and rougher wool — and the gentle susurrus of her breathing equal the sum total of her contribution to this conversation. She's a listener, not a speaker unless the situation calls for it, and outside of council meetings and emergency assemblies designed to bring the network together, it rarely does. Her exchange with Hiro had been similarly succinct.


She has her cane with her. Not the one with the snarling wolf's head, but a simple white stick, lightweight and easy to maneuver. Her last jaunt into the past served as an unpleasant reminder that even with her ability to aid her, she should not become complacent because, without it, she needs something without wings to successfully navigate her surroundings.

"Magnes Varlane is murdered in his home," Hiro answers, grimly, pausing for the time it takes for a school bus to go noisily rattling on by, all wheezing brakes and growling engines. Youthful faces in the windows, and judging by the position of the sun in the sky, it's likely the close of a school day as opposed to the opening of one. "They will write that his mother was, after long investigations, identified as the killer — there is no information or evidence of the assassin that was sent back."

He pauses, then, without particular reason as to why. Just turns to face both women. Being of the short and round variety, it would be difficult for Hiro to look particularly gaunt. Haggard, maybe. There are shadows beneath his eyes and an unhealthy tone in his skin, but he carries himself well, and speaks with decision.

"Rhys believes that Magnes has been watched for some time now. You have time to discover who — you are permitted to talk to his family, or Magnes himself. We have ways of erasing memories so that it will be as though you were never here."

Even if he has to use a past Kaylee that was never disappeared in time. Guilt doesn't show, here.

Sable's been through all this, as she was recently reminded, and that may account for her almost impatient air. She nods quickly like, okay, okay, get on with it, her arms crossed over her chest, clad in her age-old usual outfit - though she's brought along a zipper-fronted sweater with a hood in case the past season was chilly.

"So we stick it out 'til, like… what? We find th' fucker who did it, 'r, like, would've done it, 'n' put her in th' ground?" Sable's tone matches the rest of her mien. She wants to get this show on the road. All this briefing crap, the details…

That's just tactics and logistics.

Speaking of… "Y'all been pretty quiet, hon," Sable says, eying her blind companion, "got two cents t' spare or are y' savin' yer Lincolns for when y' c'n drop real dramatic-like? I ain't much f'r all this. Figure this is, like, more your arena, huh?"

"My arena," Eileen repeats, not without some mirth. "Insofar as I've done this once before." What she has to show for it, apart from an intact timeline, is hidden beneath lambskin gloves, but if Sable's attention should shift to her hands, the younger woman might detect a slight difference between the size of the Englishwoman's left hand and the size of her right. That is to say: one is noticeably smaller and thinner than the other, and the accompanying arm she holds at a strange angle when she comes to stop.

"Twice," she amends, then. A meaningful look pointed in Hiro's direction with eyes that cannot see. Don't think I've forgotten. "I can use my ability in an offensive capacity if it becomes necessary, and if past experience is any indication, then it will. I've no objections to putting people in the ground, as you know."

Hiro might have issue with that phrase, at least, but he's not objecting to the act itself, judging from his considering silence from Eileen, and then to Sable — whom he lingers his study, as if he were looking for differences. Or similarities. But then, he nods. "You must do what you can to prevent them," he concedes. "Their destruction will not alter the paths of history, for they do not belong here. If I can, I will help you with the conflict. But I must not stay very long — I seem to draw the attention of the other time traveler, when I do.

"I must depart. Thank you for your help." A flick of a glance to Eileen, before the time traveler simply blips out of existence without further instruction or clarification. The girls are eqipped with Magnes' old home address, but apart from that—

It's basically like every other mission. But at least this one doesn't seem to be going wrong.

As if on cue— and maybe it is on cue— the school bus has parked to a stop, and a few kids get off. About ten years old, all of them, and two of them are girls who ignore the boy who steps onto the curb after them, breaking off to head in their own direction. The boy, he sets off on his own, likely for home.

When said boy walks by a particularly upper middle-class house, white and fenceless with a stretch of lawn on both sides of the long concrete walkway. The closer one gets to the brown oak door, the louder they can hear the piano playing Fantasie Impromptu, or, to Sable, that song Magnes played on the day they met.

About midway down the walkway, the music stops. The two see the door open, and a small boy with a curly mushroom cut walks out. He's around 4'10, wearing a loose red shirt and a pair of blue jeans, leaning down to pick up the paper. The area is briefly scanned, and when he spots the two approaching, he quickly walks back in and slams the door.

Hiro's disappearance is cause for Sable to give Eileen another glance, brow arched, inviting her to join the yellow eyed girl in being very much 'whatever' about this whole abrupt departure thing. That Eileen is blind doesn't really matter to Sable. She performs as much for herself as for anyone else. "Arright, well, now he's gone, we c'n really start this bitch up," she says, "I got me a plan already, dig? Y'all just follow my lead, this is gonna be real smooth."

For one who believes in Fate, Sable certainly doesn't have a lot of worries about hubris, apparently.

Sable's first order of business is to scan the area for cosmic signs. This would, under most circumstances, be a really, really silly thing to do, and might well have them following a van whose license plate happens to incorporate Magnes' birthday or something. But, as it happens, the cosmos is going to take pity on them.

Sable doesn't forget a tune easily, let alone one that carries the symbolic weight of the Fantasie Impromptu. Chopin, too, is tied into the musical project Sable feels certain the universe is facilitating. First meetings reflect onto first meetings, and there is an instant recognition in Sable's expression as she hears those lovely notes floating from the piano forte.

The appearance of a mushroom-headed midget (shorter than Sable, haha!) is just handing it to them on a platter, though. Still, Sable feels it's necessary to inform Eileen, "thass 'is song! One he w's playin' when we met 'n' all!" The excited pointing that Sable performs may, itself, be enough to scare Magnes back into his house, but Sable is not discouraged. She gestures for Eileen to follow and starts jogging to the front of the house.

This'll be a cakewalk. Time to make those jokers, Colette and Elaine, look bad.

Eileen trails after Sable at a brisk pace somewhere between a trot and a canter. It's not that she's incapable of running, but her gait resembles a feline's — not when it comes to grace, but the steady deliberation with which she moves, languid and purposeful. Leaping and bounding is for when she and Sable are confronted with an immediate threat, not the ominous presence she can sense lurking in her periphery, a product entirely of her own imagination.

That's the hope, anyway. As Sable approaches the front of the house, so does she, shadowing her companion in comfortable silence until the situation demands that she break it. This is the part where she should probably be asking what Sable has planned, but curiosity stills her tongue. Although the this isn't quite the same as giving someone the floor at a meeting in front of the council, the premise is largely the same.

She wants to see what she's going to do.

It did appear that he ran back in out of fear, but soon the door is cracking open again, and Magnes slides out, wearing a buttoned up white shirt now, having changed for some reason, straightening his horn-rimmed glasses. "Shoo! Go away! If you step on my lawn, my dad will shoot you. He doesn't like today's youth, you look like today's youth, that means you're bad. Go back to your, uh, liberal cornucopia of sin!" he shouts, shaking his fist as he tries his best to sound like his father.

Sable takes two steps at a time, giving little huffs as she ascends the front stairs. If Eileen is a feline, Sable's a canid, a puppy to be precise. Leaping and bounding constitute a whole quarter of her mode of conveyance, an inventory that includes, amongst other things, moseying, sauntering, sidling and scuttling. She's already at the top of the steps when Magnes re-emerges, squared to the nines. Holy mother of Nixon.

The surprise nearly tips Sable back on the edge of that topmost step, and she must extend her arms, twirling them in rapid circles in a way that she just assumes helps her keep her balance. Cartoon physics for cartoon people. It works out, though, and she retains her equilibrium. She gives the miniature Magnes one solid look, then immediately brings her arm to her chest and bows low.

"Many apologies, Dr. Varlane," Sable says, and when she speaks, her usual insane and unplaceable accent is almost totally absent, like someone just flipped a switch or activated the dub track - only a slight twang remains, "understand, we have travelled across space and time t' find you. I'm Sage Symphonium Townshend, and this," she turns and points to Eileen, "is Professor Melodia Moon. We come with an urgent message from MV-Opus 66."

That, Eileen, is what Sable is going to do.

One of Eileen's brows arches into an inquisitive expression that looks much more lively on her face than the one she'd been wearing previously, and she looks like less of a marble statue for it. Her mouth thins out, either to keep from smiling or frowning, or to prevent these polar opposites from waging a game of tug-o-war in which her lips are a rope. She's watched just enough television in her life to understand that she might be playing the Spock character to Sable's Kirk, and so when introduced she submits with a gentle, "Greetings."

It's not a terrible plan. It's not even a bad plan, and Sable knows Magnes better than she does; she's going to trust this, and focus on maintaining a careful, polished mask. A deferential bow of her head gives Sable her full support.

"You're from my planet, in the future!" Magnes states with clear excitement, straightening his glasses as he moves in to get a closer look, but he never leaves his top step "You're blind, and you have contacts. Why would I send two visually impaired people back to save me?" He watches Ileen for a long moment, taking note of her stoic demeanor, then he points, and asks of Sable, "Is this one my wife?"

For the record, if Sable is Kirk, she rightfully claims all sexy alien ladies they may encounter on this trip. Eileen is, of course, free to die for the good of the mission in a powerful, moving scene. Don't worry, she'll be brought back later through the magic of plot.

"Naw, naw," Sable says, lapsing briefly back into her strange personal dialect before suppressing it once more, "these are implants," she says, indicating her own eyes, "improved reaction time so I can protect you and the Professor here," the 'Professor' gets a look, a brief check to see how she's keeping up with the insane story. Doing fine, it looks like. Which is maybe why Sable goes on to nod and say, "of course she is! She had to see you safe personally. Plus we needed her to plot the time jump…

"But hell, what am I saying, talking about physics to the man who proved loop quantum gravity. Sacred Song of Lennon! But I'm getting carried away here. We gotta get you to safety, Doctor. Your enemies are trying t' get you before your discovery. Lots of jealous folks out there. Stop at nothing!" She offers a plaintive smile. "Can we come in?"

Eileen has been pretending to be a lot of people's wives lately — if two, counting Magnes, is a lot. To her, it is. Fortunately, she hasn't taken the wedding band off since her return to 2010, and decides that it can only help Sable's case if she makes use of it here. Wordlessly, she removes the leather glove on her left hand, folds it between her fingers and then tucks it into her coat's silk-lined interior. When she does, sunlight catches gold and glimmers in a thin metal ring beneath the appropriate knuckle for Magnes to see.

Because if this isn't good enough evidence to prove to a ten-year-old boy that Moon is only her maiden name and she comes from a future where she's legally Mrs. Varlane—

What is?

She may murder Sable later. Uncertain.

"Implants? I guess that makes sense…" Magnes says in a skeptical tone, though looks over to Eileen's ring, then up to her face, then the ring again. "Yeah, this one's my wife." he agrees with a few firm shakes of his head. "I have a lot of questions! But my mother's inside, she wouldn't be very happy if I let you in. Don't you have confuse rays, or telepathy? She won't understand."

Ummm… any chance Eileen's memory can be erased at the end of this mission as well? Sable has so much to live for! The ring trick is something Sable did not expect, and there is a brief look of surprise (impressed surprise, specifically) on her face before she nods like, oh yeah, of course. Of course Melodia has her ring. Sable would never doubt the strength of the marital bond in the Moon-Varlane household. Or housestation or -pod or whatever.

"Doctor," Sable says, trying to remain deferential to the great Founder despite her instinctive desire to knock him down a few pegs, the little punk, "I realize you haven't reached your full intellectual potential and all, but I figured you could come up a way to get us in. I mean, I'm just the muscle here. You're the great genius." She glances to Eileen, "unless the Professor's got an idea?"

"I have never met my husband's mother," says Eileen, "but I have the utmost faith in his ability." It would be easier, she imagines, if they knew the layout of the house. As tempting as it is to scissor a garden sparrow over the top of Magnes' rumpled little head and explore the house, he's sharp even at ten and would notice. Instead: her hawk alights on the roof of the brownstone on the other side of the street and begins combing through its feathers with the edge of its beak, one golden-brown eye turned toward the stoop and the three figures hovering on the threshold of the Varlane house.

It's 1998. And in Brooklyn. She'd be lying if she claimed a small part of her wasn't also on the lookout for a dark-haired young man roughly a decade little Magnes' senior with glasses a little too large to be fashionable, and if Hiro allows, she might stop by a certain timepiece restoration business before she takes him aside to discuss Francois' whereabouts.

Later. "You told me, in fact," she adds then, her words directed at Magnes, "that you'd know exactly what to do."

And then, the announcement of heels ringing sharp on the floor just behind Magnes and the door, which is levered open hard enough that ot generates its own wind — though it doesn't do much to ruffle the perfect curls of Donna Varlane's hair, structured into perfect waves of caramel above her shoulders, both of which are defined in the lady suit she's wearing. She's on her way to going out, potentially, or hosting something in, as she's still adjusting the set of an earring in one lobe by the time she's come to a halt.

"Excuse me," she enunciates, as she squints at Eileen and Sable in obvious dislike. A judgmental flick of her gaze to Eileen's cane, as if what it represented— human disability— could be catching. Enough to motivate middle-aged women to set a hand on Magnes' shoulder and tug him back. "Is there something I can do for you?"

The way she says it makes it sound more like a very icily polite who the fuck are you?

"I can think of something! My father isn't here, so you probably won't be shot. But I can think of a pla—" And then out comes his mother, and he completely freezes up, posture straightening as if Magnes needed to squeeze his imperfections out before she noticed. "Mother, I believe these are the new nanny tutors. Remember the other lady? The one who ran crying because I explained how inadequate her teaching methods were, and how her liberal teaching styles would render her incapable of finding a proper conservative man to take care of her?"

No matter how much Magnes might have warned Sable, there is no preparing for the real thing. It's best that the Great Founder doesn't turn around, because his humble Sage looks horrified and dumbstruck. She's able to rally her features, though, before the elder Mrs. Varlane looks back to examine the new nannies. "It's a, like, pigment mutation," she says, pointing at her eyes, "just born like that, ma'am. I'm a fine tutor. Music's my speciality. I think I can help him progress even further with his piano skills. He's a fine hand with Chopin, though. A real talent."

Sable has longed since learned how to butter people up, even if she spreads it a bit thick.

Eileen places a hand at the small of Sable's back in a small show of solidarity even if she says nothing to support her claim. Either she does not wish to step on her words, or she can think of nothing useful to add that would ally Donna's suspicions rather than heighten them further. Her eyes seem to focus somewhere past her shoulder without actually focusing on anything at all, though the hawk on the opposite side of the street is held captive by the exchange, its amber eyes bright and discriminating as it studies the woman whose frame presently fills the doorway and parts its beak around a soundless whistle of disapproval.

Maybe their story is a good one, that even control-freak parents might hesitate or crack, might show signs of confusion, might decide to give them a little leeway or at least ask some questions, Donna Varlane squinting from girl to girl, then down to the top of Magnes' head. Maybe she'll budge an inch, from where she seems somewhat immovable in the mouth of her home.

Or, you know. Maybe not.

"I'm hosting a dinner in three hours," she informs them, with obvious reserve, a spark of strange paranoia in her stare into Eileen's glassily blind green eyes, to Sable's haunting yellow irises. Her hand curls on Magnes' shoulder so she gripped a fist of his shirt as opposed to his limb, and tugs him back into the doorway's shadow. "Go away," is sharp, but not emphatic. It is dismissal in its bluntest, truest form, before, with maybe surprising strength, she's propelling her son back into the depths of their home, and following after in backpedaling steps.

The close of the door snaps a single beat in the air, unknowingly severing plans half-formed, or barely just begun.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License