Who Was Francis Allen?


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Scene Title Who Was Francis Allen?
Synopsis This question and others. Eileen approaches Abigail with a theory.
Date October 28, 2009

Old Lucy's

Old Lucy's has a vibrant and lively feel to it, from the dark wooden floors to the shady crimson walls lit up by neon lights and many times, the flashing of cameras from the oft-crowded floor. The mirror behind the bar reflects prices of various drinks, bottles lined up, as well as the entire saloon as seen from the bartenders; bolted-down stools line the other side, and there are loose tables and chairs placed all around, though many times they find themselves pushed back for more space within the center of the saloon. A few speakers are placed at strategic places and around a raised stage to the far corner from the bar. Above the counter, an obviously well-used bar is hung; it is this that the girls working will use should there be dancing, which is one reason many patrons choose to come aside from the drinks. Across the bar and near the back, there is a door that leads to the owner's office and just inside a stairwell that leads a apartment on the floor above the bar.

The effects of alcohol are wide and varied, but recent studies show that drinking dulls the human brain's ability to detect threats, and while Eileen has never touched a medical journal in her life, she's well-aware of the danger this poses — which might be why she's nursing a glass of seltzer with ice instead of a flute filled with low-end fortified wine. Dressed in a heavy black pea coat with the collar turned down and a cashmere scarf tucked down the front, the young Briton hasn't bothered to remove her gloves and sits at one of the table facing the door, a lit cigarette pinched between two leather-clad fingers as she peruses the spread of paperwork in front of her.

It's a quarter to five, fifteen minutes before she asked Abby to meet her at Old Lucy's. Judging from her fatigued appearance and the fact that she hasn't even unbuttoned her coat, it seems unlikely that she intends to stay very long. This isn't anything unusual as far as Eileen is concerned; like the sun behind the clouds outside, she comes and goes, rarely lingering for more than a few minutes at a time, though her presence lacks the same sanguinity as the golden light streaming in through the bar's front windows.

Abigail's upstairs, getting things ready for the evening, doing laundry, some of Joseph's laundry and the others who live down in the underground. Just because you live in dank dark tunnels doesn't mean you have to do without fresh clean smelling clothes. Maybe Abby herself is early. Maybe someone told her that Eileen was downstairs. Who knows save Abby herself, but the bubblegum pink haired woman is carting a laundry bag of clean clothes, messenger bag and her school sports bag out from the back room in anticipation of getting an early start out to school when whatever Eileen needs is done.

So pea coat is noticed, and scarf that marks her intended guest and that draws the former healer over. "Hey, you're looking good today Eileen. How's Gabriel?" Far as she knows, the two are thick as thieves. "I met Peter. Had a talk with him. He's… going through an interesting time right now"

"Hale and hearty as ever," Eileen says of Gabriel, tapping half a finger's worth of ash into the designated tray. She pauses to take another drag from her cigarette, lips pursed firm around the filter, and blows thick tendrils of silver smoke from her nostrils. "Our work doesn't bring us together as often as I'd like, but as the French say c'est la vie."

And while they're on the subject of the French— "Peter's not alone, you know. I had a curious little tete-a-tete with Flint the other night at the Garden. Doubt he remembers any of it, which is really why I wanted to see you." She gestures to the paperwork on the table with a broad sweep of her hand, trailing smoke from the tip of her glowing cigarette. "Does the date July twenty-third, nineteen-ninety-four mean anything to you?"

Ahhh, that's the reason for the visit. "I see, Eileen, that you have met Francois. Or as he says, the memory that is Francois. The … gift, that Deckard now has" Abigail pulls up a seat, smoothing out her skirt as she does and fixing her full attention on Eileen. "That, seems to be the day that I met a Frenchman in the woods, and became, who I was up until a few months back. I don't remember the day, I was five years old. But Hiro Nakamura told me a little of it and my Dah told me as much about me running screaming back to the house about a hurt man, and what resides in Flint said as much as well." Fingers slide onto the edge of the table then palms.

"He's okay. A title egotistical, but okay, no, he never talked to me or did this sort of thing when I had the gift and I don't know why" She heads that off at the pass. "Francois, I call it that because it's not quite Flint, has come to the surface twice. Says he's helping Flint to get healthier, teaching him to take care of himself I suppose"

If Francois is teaching Flint how to take care of himself, one has to wonder what Kazimir is attempting to achieve with Peter. There's a flicker of something in Eileen's eyes that doesn't last any longer than the time it takes Abigail to recognize it — then it's gone, evaporated from her pale irises with the same ephemeral quality as the opaque haze hanging in the air between them. "I did some digging in the public archives," she says. "Butte La Rose is a long way from New York City, but that's what the internet is for, hey?"

She slides the paperwork across the table and angles it so Abby can read its contents, or at least attempt to. All reproductions, the information laid out on the table's sticky surface has been photocopied so many times that the print is very faint, so fine as to be almost be unreadable. Almost. "July twenty-third, nineteen-ninety-four. Someone runs a car off the road with enough force to roll it, crush in the doors and the roof, blow out all the windows. Vehicle's completely totaled and ransacked, but the police never find the driver or any passengers. A light green Subaru, Abigail. Registered under the name Francis Allen."

Wouldn't surprise her in the least, and still doesn't as she pulls the papers over and reads. "Butte la Rose is an hour from New Orleans, 10 minutes if your current boyfriend is a speedster. It's very small and right on a river" She can picture the road that this accident took place on, which isn't all that far really from her home. It was just really far for a five year old.

"If he lived as long as he did with that gift Eileen, and running from Kazimir, I can see that he would alter his name. I still don't remember that day, that's just it. I believe that this happened, that I was given this gift, from another" Blue eyes scan the papers before they lift to look over at Eileen's green ones. "But he keeps saying that his name was Francois Allègre, as did Mr. Nakamura."

"Francois Allègre, Francis Allen. I don't believe in fate, lovely, but one is too close to the other for this to be just a coincidence, and if the police never found a body, then it's possible the real Francois is still out there. Alive. Powerless. Just like you." Eileen places her elbows on the edge of the table and rests her chin in the crook created by her hands, one on top of the other. "I'd like to go to Louisiana and see the site for myself. Maybe there is a body and the authorities just missed it, in which case we give it a proper burial. If there isn't—"

She lets that thought dangle incomplete, unfinished. "I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of being introduced to Mr. Nakamura," she says instead. "How does he know so much about Allègre?"

"Hiro Nakamura time travels. He time traveled with Xiu, all the way back to the late 70's I believe and met him. They conversed, talked, and learned a great deal. When he and Xiu returned, I was invited over for dinner where they tried to tell me that it wasn't an evolved ability that it was something called a Kami, or an angelic spirit as the best analogy. A life Kami that Francois had, that I had, and then there was a death Kami, what Kazimir had before I removed him, the real him, from the face of this earth. Apparently, like I could kill with what was mine, Kazimir could heal, with what he had, what Peter has now"

Eileen wants to go to Louisiana though. She'd never thought of that, she didn't know if she'd be able to find the spot. "I bet my father could find the spot Eileen. Where we met. It's not that far from the house really, maybe a ten minute walk, less at a run. It's this huge forest out behind the house that leads out onto the river eventually if you go one way. I could take you there"

Eileen's experience with time travel is limited to her knowledge of a life she'll never lead, a career she'll never pursue, a house she'll never have, and a husband she'll never marry. It's killed her, too, not once but twice — here in the bowels of Pinehearst and ten years in the future, fingers hooking talons into Teodoro's pantleg and blood saturating the cheap hotel carpet under her knees. She regards Abby in silence for several long moments, saying nothing until she's cobbled her thoughts together into something articulate.

"I can't commit to a commuter flight," she says eventually, "but if we can get in touch with Elias, maybe we can do it in a day. Where's Nakamura now?"

"I don't know where Mr. Nakamura is. I can try and leave a message for him with the numbers I have. I Can't take too much time off from school, but.. Elias" Abigail smiles. "Elias owes me a favor. And I think, if you so want, I'll call it in and we can go look. I can let my Dah know that we're coming, he's no stranger to me being neck deep in things and he can keep quiet. If Francis Allen is still alive, would he have stayed in Louisiana? From what I gathered from my Dah, there was an aweful lot of blood by the tree and no signs leading away from there. They got back to the place surely no longer than 20 minutes after I ran home, I'm sure of it"

"He couldn't have vanished into thin air." Eileen snuffs out her cigarette in the bottom of the ashtray, rising from her seat at the table and gathering the paperwork into a small pile which she then slides into a paper envelope before tucking the envelope itself safely away in her coat's silk-lined interior. While it might not be raining outside now, the clouds are as fickle as the sun they blot out; it's a long way back to Staten Island, and the heavens could open up at any time. "Either he crawled off somewhere to die, or someone found him before your father got there. Vanguard. A third party. I wouldn't rule anything out."

"Do you want to go this weekend? Should give Elias enough time to get his things in order, and I won't need to worry about school. If we go on the Saturday, we can head back on the Sunday, if we need to spend another day there. There's room for everyone to stay at my place" By my place she means the big farm house out in Louisiana. "Or we can go sooner. If he is alive, if, this Francis Allen is alive, I don't know where he'd be but… we can check"

The smile Eileen offers Abigail is touched with melancholy. "I don't know when I'll be able to leave," she admits a little ruefully, her tone apologetic. "Soon. There are a few errands I've yet to run for the Ferry, and if I'm going to skip town for a couple of days, then I should let Ethan and Gabriel know where I'm going so they don't turn over every rock and stone on the island while I'm gone. I'll be in touch."

Of all people, Abigail can understand that. "It's okay. Want me to get a hold of Elias and let him know or would you rather do that yourself?" Information had been passed on, a phone number for the teleporter. She herself starts to gather her things and get ready for another night below ground and hopefully one of the last few. She wasn't going to be needed to look after Joseph. He was going to be out of the woods soon enough. "You need anything, you come, and ask okay Eileen? Anything"

"He may not want to see me, but I'll leave him a message just the same. If he doesn't return my calls, then we'll have to figure something else out." Something that doesn't involve boarding a plane. The forged paperwork and personal identification Eileen carries can only undergo so much scrutiny; in a post 9/11, post Midtown world, she doubts she'd be able to fool the FAA for even one leg of the journey, never mind two. "And the same goes for you," she says as she moves around the side of the table and makes her way toward the front door, gloved hands settling in her pea coat pockets. "You'll always be a friend to my people."

"I know. I'm Switzerland." Or was it Belgium? Abigail never knew. "I have to head to class" She follows behind Eileen, bags in tow. "Need a ride somewhere along the way? Promise it's not the scooter anymore" She offers the other woman a smile. "I'm glad you can talk with your birds again. You're not the same, without it. It's just.. it's just strange. Tell Gabriel to behave" She doesn't know the name of the rest of the people who park with Eileen. 'Tell Peter he's welcome, Death Kami or not, to the bar or at least the back room. You have the key"

"I will."

Eileen holds the door open for Abby on the way out, admitting a beam of sunlight into the bar that reflects off the mirror behind the bar, illuminates hair and skin and sets the glassware ablaze for the brief instant the two women stand silhouetted in the entryway. When it closes again, both have disappeared and the sound of their voices assimilated with the rumble of traffic outside.

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