ISO Rat-Face Lady


alister_icon.gif des_icon.gif sibyl4_icon.gif

Scene Title ISO Rat-Face Lady
Synopsis Des continues her search for the French-speaking voice on the other end of the radio.
Date May 20, 2018

Ruins of Staten Island

It's another rainy night on Staten Island.

Something about the illegally-inhabited ruins just seems to attract inclement weather regardless of the season, but it's at least warm this evening, and the proprietors of the Rookery's only pool hall have left the windows open to provide some much-needed ventilation. The smell of water pooling on warm concrete wafts in from the outside, mingling with the more common aromas of cigarette smoke, sweat, and stale beer.

Desdemona Desjardins knows that she can find the remnants of Mehler's crew here. Those who either weren't privy to Pohl's mutiny, or those who opted to pitch themselves overboard rather than face Etienne and the wicked edge of his blade.

She doesn't know that she can also find Alister Black and his ward here, but a cursory scan of the bodies assembled in the old warehouse-turned-gathering-place finds them at a table closest to the largest window in the midst of a quiet conversation while a handful of Alister's men blow off steam at one of the pool tables nearby.

"It's like tic-tac-toe," Sibyl is saying as she shows Alister a crudely-drawn blueprint of Miller Field-turned-lavender-garden. "Sometimes you have to put something down to block somebody else from taking that space. There aren't very many places on the island for a plane to land, but now there's one less."

"So you've done your first takeover. I have to say, I'm very proud." Alister smiles, staring at the blueprint as he gives it a great deal of thought. "Since you've followed through with this so well, I'll give you more money to invest. We'll make sure that we have men to protect the field, and we'll erect a sign that notes it as a business."

"But, most importantly…" he smiles, his wheelchair off to the side, and he's having some fancy bourbon he's forced these people to hold for whenever he comes in. "You said you wanted this, that it was something you couldn't buy with money. Green, a park, something you could sit in and enjoy. But look at you, creating it."

"I don't want you to be what I want you to be, I want you to be what you want to be… I just want you to be that while having hope that you can achieve your dreams, even if they seem impossible." He's made one of the men fetch Sibyl whatever she wants to drink, something non-alcoholic of course, he doesn't allow Sibyl to drink alcohol or anything that might be a corrupting influence. "So, what do you think, of hopes, and dreams?"

Hope and dreams may have to wait. Des approaches the table where Sibyl and Alister sit, but maintains a distance from them. Mostly because she doesn't want to incite any of Alister's men to force her to maintain distance. "Excuse me, Mister Black," she begins politely, just loud enough to be heard over the din around them, "I hope you don't mind, but I saw you over here, and I thought I'd see how you're recovering."

Des is all smiles, clasping her hands together as she waits for permission to complete her approach. Sweet and unassuming. Like she didn't murder five people in the blink of an eye back on board that freighter. Her gaze flits to Sibyl, recognizing her not just from the boat, but also the arcade a while back. The way she handled a rifle, even a toy one, isn't something she's about to forget.

Sibyl's glass of ice water and wilted lemon sits untouched. "Actually, Mr. Black," she starts. "I was thinking—"

But whatever she says next is interrupted by Des' appearance, although the other woman will notice that he intrusion isn't an unwelcome one. The relief is visible on her face, tension melting from her neck and bare shoulders. Her sun dress, still damp from the rain, clings to her matchstick figure, giving her the appearance of something small and half-drowned, dredged from the waters that surround the island.

She falls silent.

"Ah, the woman who saved me from the jaws of death, who allowed me to live long enough to decide I would spit into the very face of fate itself, and defy the very idea of destiny to instead forge a new path in life!" Alister motions to an empty seat. "Please, join us."

"I'm doing fine." he has a sip of his drink, briefly smiling at Sibyl. "Simply having a business discussion with my young protege. Though I will be glad when I'm out of that wheelchair and back to kicking men in the knees." he laughs at the very idea. "No man expects to be kicked in the knee, make a mental note of that, Sibyl. Also shot, no man expects to be shot in the knee, but make sure you actually hit."

"Thank you, you're very kind." Though there's a strained quality to her smile the more she listens to Alister instruct his ward. "I'm glad you're recovering well." Her own dark hair is damp around her ears, a curl stuck along the line of her jaw on one side. A raincoat, shrugged off when she's offered a place to sit, has spared her from any chill from the rain, in spite of the warm weather.

Des takes a seat on the other side of Sibyl and offers a more genuine smile to the girl. "Hello. Sorry I interrupted. Please feel free to continue, if you like."

"No, that's all right," says Sibyl, mouth unsmiling. Her eyes might be. A little. "You're looking for someone."

One of Alister's men, taking a cue without needing to be asked, skirts away in the general direction of the bar and returns a few moments later with a drink in a dingy-looking tumbler for their newest arrival. She can't be sure without tasting its contents, but it smells like whiskey cut with some sort of bitter soda. Ice tinkles against the sides of the glass.

"Who are you looking for? I'll have them delivered to you." Alister assures, and then his gaze is back to Sibyl. "What were you doing to tell me? About your plans. Don't worry, she's a friend of Richard Cardinal's sister, so I think we can trust her. They'll be our allies as soon as I get my meeting."

Des tips her head to one side and lifts her brows at Sibyl's assertion. "That's right." There's no reason to hide it. "I did come here looking for some of the men from that boat. I want to find out who they were answering to. I want to know who wanted to hurt my friend."

It's Alister's turn to have brows raised at him with talk of allies. "I can't speak to that, but I'm sure if you can help me, it won't hurt anything."

Sibyl's expression grows dark. Whatever light had been in her pale eyes is extinguished when Des states the reason for her visit, even if it probably isn't a surprise. She steers a look across the pool hall to where another group of haggard, weather-worn men twirl pool sticks like batons and leer at one another around curled lips and flashing teeth.

Maybe Des notices something colourful flicker in the air between them. Maybe not.

"You could ask them," she says quietly, "but you already know the answer."

Natalie Gray, Pohl had said.

"That's my girl, being ominous and adorable!" Alister says with the amusement that only a man who has been ridiculously rich builds up over the years, the amusement of a man who clearly perceives a situation to be beneath him in some way. "Tell me… what is your name, again?" he asks, looking to Des. "Why exactly are you here? I'm a man who values forwardness and honesty, and according to my protege, you're asking questions you already know the answer to, and showing up in dangerous bars to check up on the health of a man you couldn't have possibly expected to be here."

He smiles over at Sibyl, then laughs a little. "You have to enjoy the little things in life, Sibyl." He leans in, on his elbows, and asks, "What if I told you that these men were instructed to follow your orders? Provided that they don't conflict with my standing orders, of course. How does that feel?"

Though, she's already had men to follow her orders before, now they're in a casual situation, and it's as if he just suddenly gives her power for entirely no reason.

The problem is that Des doesn't want to believe what she's been told. But the way this girl states with such certainty that she already knows has her frowning. And suddenly more willing to believe.

"I never said I was here for you," Des clarifies when Alister probes. "I said I noticed you, and that's the truth. I came here for answers. It seems I'm finding them in unexpected places…" She smiles briefly, and takes her glasses off to wipe the lenses with a cloth produced from her pocket. "I need to find the person I spoke with on that radio. I need to know who that was."

"She was alone when she met with him." Pohl, Sibyl means. "They were talking about her earlier." She addresses Des without letting her eyes wander from the sailors on the other side of the pool hall. Concentration turns her face hard, her eyes cold.

She's Listening.

"You're looking for a ghost, Ms. Desjardins. A very private one."

"The youth is always full of wisdom." Alister idly notes, apparently paying no particular mind to Sibyl's ominous tone and words. He's instead asking for a refill of his drink, ushering one of the men to bring another glass. "Sibyl usually has very good ideas, you should listen to her."

"Oh, I am," Des assures as she takes a drink from the glass she was given. She's mulling over in her mind what she's been told so far. "Ghost is the word I would have used, yes." Which is why she finds it so hard to believe. "Do you- Do they know where I can find her?"

Blue eyes follow Sibyl's gaze to the sailors and their game of pool. Normally, Des is ill at ease around an apparent telepath, but something about this one…

Sibyl frowns. The answer to Des’ question is yes; she can tell by how heavy the girl’s hesitation feels, gathering in the air like a stormcloud. “The person you want to talk to is named Keira Fionn,” she says finally. That feels heavy, too. “She’s a smuggler, like Mr. Black. Dangerous.”

The next part can probably go unsaid, but just in case: “You probably don’t want to go alone.”

"Ah, Keira, I know her. We had something of a business meeting. I'm not a fan, but she wants to be business partners." Alister rolls his eyes at that, taking his new drink from one of his men, who immediately makes himself scarce. "I'm still waiting on that business proposal. I'm not in the habit of being business partners with people who shapeshift into my maid and then point a gun at me."

He stares at Sibyl quite sternly. "You should stay away from that woman, Sibyl, unless I or Etienne are around."

“Sounds charming,” Des responds flatly. While she might envy a shapeshifting ability, it sounds like this Keira does with it the sort of thing Des would do with it if she had it. Well, what she would have done with it before the war. Now, she’d just use it to disappear and be safe.

“Where can I find this Fionn?”

Sibyl gives Alister a Look. There’s a sharp quality to her eyes that wasn’t there before, irises standing out against their whites, but it’s softened by the absence of light inside the pool hall and the overhang of her wispy lashes. “I should,” she agrees in a tone that suggests the exact opposite.

When her attention shifts back to Des, her edges soften further in a conscious effort not to take out whatever she’s feeling in this particular instance on an innocent party.

If Des can even be considered an innocent. There are some people out there who would argue otherwise.

“Here on the island,” she says of Keira. “Short hair. Blonde. Her face looks like a rat’s.”

Alister squints at Sibyl's tone. He's usually somewhat dismissive, allowing her to do what she likes, as he often treats her actions as simple child's play. But… "Sibyl…" he takes on a Dad Tone. "Do not get yourself hurt doing things you shouldn't be doing. If I find out that someone has hurt you, make no mistake about it, I will end them and everyone they know."

But, he takes a breath, and a drink, calming down a moment. "Sorry, that's an overreaction. I'm still getting used to this. You're a child. On this island, you can't depend on an ability to make you invincible. Taking all of these risks needs to stop, unless those risks are calculated, and there's an actual profit to gain."

He talks as if he's at least somewhat suspicious, given some of the things he's witnessed, and some of the things that Sibyl has said and done in his presence. He doesn't usually take such a serious tone with her. "If you're going to take risks, if you're going to do things regardless of if I tell you to or not, then talk to me, help me help you figure out if your risks actually have something greater to gain from them."

He motions both hands out to her, as if to indicate that it's her turn. "Tell me, what exactly is your long game? Or are you just bored?"

Des places both hands on the edge of the table and begins to push up to stand. “I think I have what I need,” she says with a smile to Alister. “Thank you for the drink and the company.”

Her focus returns to Sibyl, and that smile brightens her eyes now. Her head tips slightly toward the door. “I’m going to take off. You got something you want me to pass on to the rat-face lady?” That felt unkind to say, even to Des. But if it brings some amusement to the young blonde, it will have been worth it.

It does.

“Tell her an eye for an eye,” answers Sibyl, and maybe, considering her history, Des should be worried. The girl splays a palm across her mouth, embarrassed by the involuntary smile that manifests there. Bad joke, apparently.

She makes a small noise at the back of her throat to clear it. “I’m going to walk Ms. Desjardins out,” she announces, chair legs scraping beneath her as she hoists herself to her feet — something that she’s all to aware Alister is incapable of at the moment. It creates distance and excuse to pause this conversation, which isn’t a coincidence.

Her hand reaches out to take Des’ arm lightly by the elbow. “That seems proper and good and ladylike.”

"This discussion is going to be waiting for you." Alister says, as if to implant into her mind that it can't be escaped. But he doesn't argue, he takes another sip and nods to Des, confident in his composure even now.

Some might get the impression that he enjoys mentally sparring with a 13 year old.

Perhaps this is how dads feel.

Perhaps this is what they call 'pride' in one's child.

Des might posit it’s some form of insanity. And she likes children. And she’s come a long way from instant alarm when it comes to comments about eyes, fortunately.

Allowing her elbow to be taken so the two can walk out arm and arm like proper ladies, Des gives a small wave to Alister over her shoulder. Then she leans down to whisper conspiratorially to Sibyl as they reach the door. “Going to make a break for it?”

“There’s something I have to do first.” So: Yes, but also no. Sibyl steps into the rain with Des and turns her face toward the sky, happy to be out of the humid pool hall and outside in the slightly-less-humid nighttime air. It washes over their faces and quickly saturates their hair in spite of the tattered awning that juts out over the doorway, fabric flapping in the summer breeze.

She blinks some of it out of her eyes. “Will you tell Ms. Sumter I’ll be back soon?”

"Yes," Des assures Sibyl, a brief pat on her hand meant to be assuring rather than patronizing. "I'll let her know you'll be coming to see her." Her expression dims to something a little more serious. "You know where to find us if you run into any trouble."

Then, she's smiling again. "Be safe!" she calls as she steps out from beneath the awning and off to start her search for Keira Fionn.

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