Coyote Amnesty


bella_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

Scene Title Coyote Amnesty
Synopsis Bella calls in on the promise made to her on the behalf of other people.
Date May 5, 2011

Chelsea: A Bar

Shambled, dirty dive bars pit the face of bomb-ruined Chelsea like acne scars with only slightly more appeal, and it is not often that Flint can convince Bella to set foot in one. Jukebox skipping through a Beastie Boys CD in the back, feeble lighting, poor air circulation and smudged glasses set the mood at a kind of shadowy, buzzy blur. Nobody's looking at anyone else and there isn't a whole lot of conversation to overhear.

Flint's in a water-stained brown leather jacket next to Bella, the pair of them seated far off to the side in a booth under a scrubby deer head that he bears some faint resemblance to. He's breaking the law by smoking and she is — guilty by association. Or something.

In any case, he's not saying much but he does occasionally try to play lazy footsie with her under the table, as much as his buzz and alligator hide boots allow for, unmistakeable from the back as he is from the front.

Even Bella is not liberally puritanical enough to think smoking in a bar should be outlawed. These minor injustices strike tiny libertarian sparks off the armor of her progressivism. Not that she smokes, and not that she's exactly thrilled about having her hair smell like bar - that mix of stale exhalation and malty fumes - but at least she's got a first line of defense. A fair bit of her face is obscured by bug-eyed sunglasses, and her red hair - one of the finer points of her lazy vanity - is obscured beneath a midrange, straight blonde wig. Her dark peacoat would complete the look of conspicuous disguise, if only the constant perimeter checking flicker of her eyes were visible. Flattering herself with paranoia.

She replies to the nudging of his foot, but indulges only briefly before applying a single, steady pressure that says 'still'. Bella alights her hand on his momentarily as well. No hard feelings - it's just that she has some things on her mind: questions, concerns. Like where is their deal-breaking contact?

He's been here before. Francois has. Maybe not this bar, but many bars like it, and it's amazing how they stay the same across the world and throughout the spans of decades. Only the brands change, maybe the preference. Vodka in Russia, unsurprisingly. Gin in Spain, maybe a little surprisingly. The people change too, but if you regard content over the language it's in, then— not really. He only casts a quick look to the bar upon entering, mostly to see if the people he's looking for happen to be slouched there as opposed to actually being keen for the beer or the brown, lined up liquor bottles. If he asks for a wine glass filled with house red, he might walk out with a broken nose.

But that's a bit judgmental. Either way, he doesn't want to stay long enough to nurse a drink, and so when he sees Deckard's familiar face and Bella's reasonably unfamiliar head of blonde hair, that's where he moves, foot steps quiet but not meek. His leather jacket is black and scuffed, with wool lining, collar and cuffs. A button-down beneath that of unoffensive green, free of jewelry save for an analogue watch he bought while he was a. Doctor.

So it's a nice watch, mostly obsured by sleeve. A hand goes out to snag a chair nearby, tugging it towards the open side of the booth table.

Deckard is at ease, for more or less the same reason grizzly bears tend to be in flowery fields and mountain streams. Plenty to eat. Girlfriend. Knows the territory.


He glances to her hand over his but doesn't shrug the leash, content to smoke and drink without irritating her until a stinky Frenchman with a watch his eyes tick to immediately draws up a chair and takes a seat. Cigarette savored, watch considered, it's too many seconds before he finally looks up to measure the rest of him.

Another dimension. Another dimension.

He is nice enough to blow smoke in the opposite direction of both their faces.

To say that Bella draws on Flint's composure wouldn't be quite right. Calm - meditational, osmotic, ethanoline - is not really amongst Bella's tenable states. Alert, however, works fine, as well as guardedness. She stiffens in her seat when she recognizes Francois, a (thankfully brief) reaction that doesn't precisely say 'so nice to see you'. She doesn't smile, but she doesn't scowl either; she's trying to avoid engraving ill temper into the face she'll one day have to wear every day.

So when Francois joins them, she has the good manners to say, "Thank you for meeting with me," the first person pronoun a matter of honesty rather than exclusion. Flint is already a fugitive. It's Bella who's currently up for fugueing.

"The favor you promised, I'm calling it in." Bella laces her fingers on the table before her, centering the discussion, at least for herself, "I want to know what I have to do, such that I can- proceed as soon as is practicable."

He did promise, and Francois doesn't make a face at these words. He expected them.

"Are you hoping to go now?"

He abruptly has minor regret that he didn't order a drink — if only for something to do with his hands. For now, they fold on the table together, elbows bent, head canted to listen with the scarred ear angled down. A glance to Deckard is designed to include him in the conversation, as well as keep track, for all that seemingly older man isn't doing much at all. "The network suffered during the riots of November. The chaos was used as a cover to expose many of their safehouses. We have only a small handful of sites left available to us, but they are secure."

'Now,' sure is soon. Soon enough, at least, to have Deckard pausing on his way to a sip before he completes it and edges a sideways look after Bella. Immediately, suddenly and now aren't really words he associates with her. Unless she wants something.

And what Bella wants is more than the clothes on her back, the contents of her purse, and a (not inexpensive) wig to her name. The sharp swing of her chin underlines her negative. "Not now. I will need some time. And-" this seems as good a time as any to mention it, "I was wondering if you might be able to accomodate one other? There is a young woman in Institute custody to whom I have access - a precognitive. If arrangements can be made, I could assist in helping her escape as well." The inference of altruism here isn't played up - Bella can imagine no better way to undercut her own seeming sincerity than to emphasize it. Better, she figures, to disavow sentiment, so that might be imagined as repressed. Some people, after all, like to think the best of others.

There's only the barest, teensiest twitch of a smile when she denies that she wants to leave now right now, the small nod Francois gives meant to be somewhat kind and understanding that maybe she hasn't packed her summer wardrobe in preparation for going underground. Only for him to then be surprised at what she does propose, his head tilting forward a fraction as if he didn't hear her quite right. Although such gestures are understated, blinked around, and he's quiet while he thinks.

"There is room," he says. "Of course. Institute rescues have often gone messily, on the two excursions I've experienced." He doesn't even have to glance at Deckard — wants to, even less. "I presume your position would have it be a lot cleaner. What is her name?"

Surprise echoes on Deckard's face at a subtle blank, one brow tilted down slow after the other. As far as poker faces go it's not a very good one: he doesn't recall hearing of this mysterious third party or any precogs other than the floppy religious one she got re-addicted to Refrain.

Then Francois starts talking Institute rescues and he doesn't have to look — stale rancor bunches at the bridge of Flint's nose and turns the long flank of his face down after his beer bottle. That was complicated.

Flint, you see, this is because you're so fucking quiet. Any life update sounds like a news bulliten when unprompted and answered monosyllabically. It is enough, surely, that he must endure the occasion harangue, directed at some non-present co-worker or (more often) superior. Her occasional intersections with weird blonde schizo-seers with Merlin's Disease have seemed too unreal and ephemeral to even bear mentioning.

But yes, she is planning on 'busting out', "Tamara Brooks," spoken like it's marked on the tab of a file, "it should be very clean. I can likely sign her out under my custody and then go- wherever, unaccompanied. I presume I'd want to move to whatever rendezvous point post-haste at that point."

It's to Flint her eyes go now, because she assumes he knows, font of all emergency wisdoms. Also, it's her imaginging that, "I'd be meeting you there- or on way, right?" Remarkably ginger when it comes to this. She's bungled things before, misunderstood, assumed - she defers rather than risk embarassment.

Though the very concern prompts further anxiety. "We'll be granted amnesty, correct? The safety of our persons guaranteed?"

"On the way," Francois says swiftly. He doesn't need to ~check in~ with the Ferrymen to make that call, and meanwhile, he's wondering why Tamara Brooks sounds so very familiar. He doesn't remember anything his possessor-memory self did in relation to her — that had little to do with him. But he did treat a coma patient and help her recovery, many moons ago, and it chimes vaguely in dusty recollection. "As for amnesty— " He pauses too long on that. At the best of times, he can lie like a chammmpion. But that's fucked him over in this arena before, and so he hesitates.

Leans back in his seat, splays a hand. "If I asked them today, they would say 'no', I think. But I find it easier to obtain forgiveness over permission, and you will not be going somewhere that will trap you. Your concern for Brooks and actions will win you favour, of course, and any intelligence you might have to bargain with."

The name 'Tamara Brooks' also flickers familiarity into the (figurative, in this instance) light behind Deckard's eyes, but it's short-lived. Recognition that sieves through his memory the second he tries to search after it. Bella's seen it in him before, with or without accompanying frustration.

Tonight there isn't any.

He stays focused dimly on his beer until he realizes she's speaking to (or at) him, spine straightened and scruffy head lifted to better replay the last minute or so of conversation for himself. "On the way," he agrees at a quieter echo, possibly because Francois said it so decisively.

The rest leaves him looking uncomfortable. Reticently so. He nudges her foot again, though. Reassuringly. Maybe.

She savors them, the moments of choice, where she can decide what she will feel about something, at least in the short term. The word that has kept coming to mind is 'tribunal', and Bella fears a pitiless justice that she basically can't act like she might properly deserve, all elaborate justificatory structures aside. But in this moment, she makes the decision to be confident. To believe that once she gets them talking, she can make it work. Present herself in just the right light.

Having a la-dee-da barefoot blonde won't hurt either, especially if she can make Tamara vouch for her. Something horoscopically positive, attributing vaguely redemptive possibilities. Bella could really use something like that.

"I'll gather what I can in the time I have, but I do want to go very soon. A week. Five days, even." It frightens her, so close to the leap, and while the present is getting unbearable the future hasn't once looked rosy. Still- she lifts the tip of her shoe and andswers by pressing it against Flint's foot once more, the gesture almost identical to the one previous, but signifying something totally different. Context is everything.

It's the 4th. So, the 9th. Without a day job or TV guide, it's difficult to keep track of anything but numbers, so it's these that Francois files away. "Five days, then. I can pick you up at the Navy Yard, in Brooklyn, noon. The cover of night would be of less use to us than anyone who would be tailing you." The chair scrapes on the floor somewhat when Francois pushes himself away from the table, but he isn't dismissing himself yet.

"You will be going?" he asks, of Deckard. He expects a 'yes' — maybe even wants one, on that note of things tailing the fake-blonde in front of him, as his voice is devoid of any resignation or dread, despite the last parting words they had being particularly unfriendly. Threat of death cannot be seen in forest-green eyes blinked across at paler blue.


Decisive, Flint reaches to snuff out the cigarette he's been letting languish between two glasses that were there when they sat down, ash clumped all in a column until it hits backwash and ice. The idea of 'tribunal' doesn't cross his mind because he doesn't have a decent frame of reference beyond Eileen capping that cop a while back.

Toes splayed invisible to all but a mute pass of spectral glow through his stare at the table, he leans into Bella, slow to meet Francois' regard. His expression is roughly inscrutable once he does. Inscrutable save for the fact that it's not very friendly.

There is a defensive aspect to Bella's look, the kind of peer given through an arrow slit or standing behind crenelation, though it's from under Flint's loom that she is currently spying. "In five days. Navy Yard. Noon," Bella's echo is directed back at Francois, a confirmation rather than a mnemonic, "I should have some way of contacting you, shouldn't I? A temporary- emergency number?" Hesitation creeping in again as she enters realms of knowledge outside her bailiwick.

"I would appreciate being informed of as many details as is possible, when possible," she keeps her suspicion from growing rank, but otherwise it's plain as day, "I trust there won't be too much need for blindfolding or coyote hospitality."

"I'm not telling you where I take you," Francois says, a little blandly, warm humour veining through his tone, even if it's not exactly kind. He dimly drags his attention off Deckard to regard her. "Not until the day. But blindfolding won't be necessary." He doesn't promise there won't be coyote hospitality, for two reasons — he isn't quite sure what that means, but also, there is no guaranteeing the manner of other people. The only blindfolding that might take place is that of the Ferrymen themselves. "Just use my phone and call from the street — if I do not pick up, then have Deckard contact the Ferry via radio. It will get to me."

When he stands, he does so carefully, but not so much that anyone at a casual glance would see he's hurt, save for Deckard, maybe, if he squints enough to recognise fractured ribs, slow healing.

Flint keeps his eyes on Francois long after Francois' have moved on to Bella, lurid eyes and hard edges and bristled scruff. Making sure the truth is in there, somewhere. Preferably in the words. As opposed to an anxious coronary flutter or msucular twitch.

He does not openly aggress, though, for all that there is latent obstinance in lingering looks and quiet dislike. This may be taken as appreciation. Or at least tolerance under a specific set of circumstances.

Or an extension of existing dickery.

Whatever the case, the next smoke he produces from his jacket pocket is a cigar. "Your reputation," he tells Bella in an aside, elaborating on Francois absence of reassurance re: the behavior of others once the younger (older) man is on his feet, "will precede you."

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