Shipside Seance

December 18, 2014:

Constantine and Mack hold a séance on the ship to find out what Grandpa Frank wants. They get more answers than they bargained for.

Quint's Folly

The Quint's Folly isn't typically a boat of any noteworthiness. It's a simple fishing trawler, a 90-footer, used for the bottom netting of Atlantic Cod. Her hull is painted a deep navy blue, with white structures on top, and a bright red winch for the nets. She has several sections, with the wheelhouse sitting 3/4 of the way to the stern on the foc's'le deck, with the gantry tucked behind it on the trawl deck.

The front two thirds of the trawl deck is enclosed and holds the mess with it's galley equipment, vinyl booths and laminate tabletops, an industrial coffee maker, outerwear storage closet, and an old tv mounted to the wall with a radio system beneath. through a hatchway is a hallway leading to two crew rooms, each with 4 bunks and a head.

At the end of the corridor is the Captain's Cabin. Mack's personal room is not fancy, but consists of modular furnishings made of wood and covered in durable microsuede cushions, which can be used for seating, storage, or tablespace as needed. Her bed is shy of queen sized, and built into one wall. A small entertainment center is opposite the bed, with a small closet and a private head with shower, sink, and toilet. Everything is bolted to the floor and all cabinets and drawers have secure latches to keep them from opening in high seas.

The factory deck is next, with the freezers, prep rooms, and various fish bins, as well as the ramp room where the nets dump their catch into the interior. The lowest level is the hold, which has the engine room, rudder room, bilge, and ballast tanks.

Characters

NPCs: Rufus (Mack's Dog), Frank Linden (Ghost)

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

After a few days in Constantine's magical interdimensional House, it's time for Mack to get back to her boat. The two posited that perhaps the ghost of her grandfather, Frank, was trying to explain things to her somehow, so it's time to summon him and see what is keeping him tied to this plane of existence.

Mack leads Rufus and John back onto the Folly, and down a hallway, past the crew bunks, to the Captain's Quarters. It's not fancy, but it's more spacious and laid back than the galley and lounge area. "Welcome to my little spot on the ocean," she mumbles quietly. She tosses her duffle bag beside a bolted down sofa and takes off the dog lead so Rufus can go explore.

Constantine wanders in with a cigarette bobbing between his lips, holding his doctor's valise in one hand. He looks around a bit critically, but shrugs when Mack looks back at him. "Seen worse," he says, which is something of a charitable statement from the oft-snide Brit.

He tries to move one of the tables aside, is stopped, and leans back to frown at the bolts holding it in place. "Bloody hell, guess you don't redecorate much," he mutters. He starts clearing the table off, then drops his doctor's valise nearby and fishes for some chalk and candles, setting them up with the speed of long practice. "Ever done a seance before?" he asks Mack, glancing up at the woman.

Rufus pauses to give John a nudge with his giant head, as if welcoming the Brit to his turf, then he pads out and down the hall to patrol. Mack flips on some lights and lets out a breath. "So how do we get Frank to show up? Just hope? Ask?" she queries. She's wearing jeans and a faded Led Zeppelin t-shirt under a grey hoodie. She won't be appearing on Project Runway anytime soon if her fashion taste is any indication.

She snorts as he tries to move a table. "Redecorating doesn't really rate high on the must list when you're in 14 foot swells. If it wasn't bolted to the floor, it'd be busting open your head in high seas." She shakes her head at the question. "I haven't. Are those for real? I thought they were a bunch of ways for fake psychics to bilk people."

Constantine smirks a bit mirthlessly, drawing chalk lines on the table and putting candles at certain points. "Mostly, yes," he admits, looking down at his work. "Most psychics are just into it to do cold readings and steal money from people- a few of them might have an inkling of sensitivity or a grand-aunt who was into hoodoo, and they saw her doing the real thing and use it as 'inspiration'," he says, his tone clearly indicating his contempt for those individuals.

"When you know what you're doing, though, it's the best way to commune with the dead. Whistling up an individual spirit is tough," he explains. "I can summon any old ghost, but trying to find someone I've got no personal connection with can get tricky. But, working in Old Frank's own cabin, with his granddaughter across from me, we should have him popping up in no time at all." He sets a small brazier in the center of the table, incense burning over a mixture of herbs and pungent spices, and settles into a seat, resting hi wrists on the edge of the table. "Orright, sit down across from me and take my hands," Constantine says, closing his eyes. "I'm going to do some chanting. I need you to focus on Frank's spirit- think about him as much as possible. Every little detail, from the color of his eyes to how he whistled. The harder you focus, the easier we'll understand him."

Mack lights up a cigarette of her own and takes a deep drag, trying to settle her nerves. It doesn't work. Even smoking doesn't help when one is about to begin summoning dead relatives. She'd really like a stiff drink, but somehow being plastered and calling upon granddad's ghost sounds like a bad idea.

She sets her smouldering cigarette into one of the many ashtrays scattered about and sits down across from John. She wipes her hands on her jeans before she reaches across to set them in his. Nervous sweat. Also calluses. She obviously works with her hands for a living. "Ok," she agrees to his requests, though she looks a tiny bit dubious.

Mack closes her eyes and thinks about Frank, about the summer she first came to the boat, in her braids and ripped up jeans, with a chip on her shoulder the size of an iceberg, and how the gruff man won her over in a matter of weeks, something her parents didn't do in sixteen years. She remembers him helping her through the pain of losing her daughter to Thomas and his wife, and of giving her the boat in his will. She remembers how he smelled like the sea and the cod, and how he'd sing old sea shanties, and tell her stories of his time as a SHIELD agent.

Constantine's hands are wiry and rough, but not as callused or strong as Mack's are. He closes his eyes and starts chanting under his breath. Even in whatever bizarre language he's speaking in, it is clearly a summons- there is the sense of a hail, a challenge, a demand- a compulsion that flows into the aether.

A strange frisson creeps over the back of Mack's neck, goosebumps rising in response to John's intonations. The sensation of an unseen watcher is something familiar to almost everyone, and it increases suddenly as a third presence joins them at the table. The incense reaches the bottom of the stick and ignites the herbs in the bowl, a crackling flame rising up from the brazier. When it dies, there's a third person sitting at the table- Old Frank, who looks at Mack and Constantine with mild surprise.

Frank Linden's ghost looks a damned lot like Quint from JAWS. It was the inside joke that resulted in the name of his boat. His ghost looks like him in his prime, soon after he retired from SHIELD and began fishing. His blue eyes, paler in his translucent state, He gives his granddaughter a broad, gentle grin, then eyes John up and down with a huffing motion of his shoulders. "Mackenzie Rae, who is this jackass?" he asks gruffly, but with a twinkle in his eye indicating good humor.

Mack opens her eyes and feels a lump in her throat at the sight of him. "This is John, Frank. He's a friend. Some strange things have been happening to me and he's trying to help me figure it out."

"Hrn, well, you didn't need all this mumbo jumbo for me. Just had to pay attention and stop running away whenever I showed up," Frank protests.

"You're a bloody ghost, mate," Constantine informs Frank, though he squeezes Mack's hands to prevent her from breaking their small circle. "Can't blame the girl for running. I am, though, a bit curious about why you're haunting her- and what that bloody thing on her back is, and how she got it. I have a feeling you've got a bit of a story to tell," Constantine says, still puffing on his cigarette like he does this every day.

Frank snorts at John and then smiles at Mack again. "I told it already, she just had to find it. It's what I was trying to show her," he explains. He gets up from the table and moves over to a corner of the cabin, crouching down. "Under the boards here, they're not nailed down, you can lift them up. The answers are there, Mackenzie Rae. I just didn't get a chance to tell you where before I passed. Now, darlin girl, if you don't mind, your Granny Edith is waiting for me, with my favorite pie and some good scotch, in the big beyond."

Mack watches the ghost move to the plain and unobtrusive corner. All of the flooring in the captain's cabin is teak, durable and able to stand up to water in a pinch. "You can't stay?" she asks her grandfather, tears welling in her eyes but not falling. "No, no of course you can't. Granny Edith would be really pissed if you were late," she chuckles softly.

"Best let him go," Constantine says, softly. And the tone of his words convey, softly, that the person really holding Frank here is Mack, and her desire to see him again. He waits for the girl to bid her farewells and for Frank to vanish back into the void, then slowly releases her hands, breaking the spell and slumping back into his chair.

Constantine digs into a pocket for his flask and takes a belt, around his cigarette, and lifts his chin at the corner. "Well, get on with it. Let's see what old Frank hid for you to find," he tells Mack, waving vaguely.

Mack steels herself, finds her courage, and whispers, "I love you, grandpa. Go on, Frank, I can take it from here." It's her farewell, and the ghost moves over to press his lips to the top of her head, before he fades out. She wipes at her eyes with the sleeve of her hoodie when John releases her hands, and gets up. She kneels down in the corner and pries the boards up one by one.

"Huh," is her only indication of what she finds. Then she starts hauling out leather-bound books. She unlaces the ties on one and opens it. "They're journals, his journals," she calls back to John, her brow furrowed in focus. "Some of these date back to World War II, when he was still a SHIELD agent."

Several of the pages are marked with a ribbons, and Mack turns to the earliest, settling down on the floor, cross-legged, her back to the wall. "This was in 1943." She reaches up to turn on the nearest light and begins reading out loud.

"Frank got around a bit, eh?" Constantine picks up a journal and leafs through it, scanning without reading. "Can't say as there's any love lost with me and SHIELD. Don't like it when they start treading on my crime scenes," he mutters grimly. He lifts a chin at Mack after a few minutes of sorting. "Found anything yet?"

Several of the pages are marked with a ribbons, and Mack turns to the earliest, settling down on the floor, cross-legged, her back to the wall. "This was in 1943." She reaches up to turn on the nearest light and begins reading out loud.

Feeling relieved tonight. It was rough seas near Shukenegi Village. We had a contact we had to get some information from, who agreed to meet us in Ogi Town, and I had to navigate the rough Sea of Japan to get us there. It was night, and there was a very sudden storm that seemed to come out of nowhere. I saw another boat in a flash of lightning just off the starboard side. Shukunegi was a 200 year old fishing village, and the residents made their livelihood and meals from the sea. The fishing boat was sinking, her hull on fire from a lightning strike, and there were people clinging to debris floating in the 14 foot swells.

Against orders I turned the cutter towards the wreck, and ordered the crew to rescue the fishermen. I pulled a man about my age from the water, Katsugi, and he begged me to rescue his granddaughter, who was still on the burning boat. I dove over the side, and swam to the fishing vessel, climbed up the netting, and called out for the little girl. I heard her crying behind some barrels laden with fish, and snatched her up. It was a difficult, frigid swim back to the cutter, but I made it, with the child clinging to my back.

Katsugi told me he owed me everything, and that he was able to look into the future. He declared that one day he would repay me in kind, by giving my granddaughter the means to save herself. He would help her find the way, to reclaim something sacred lost to her. I laughed it off, because hey, psychics? Plus, I have no plans for marriage or kids, ever. Frank Linden with rugrats? Come on. Anyway, we missed our contact, and I got a reprimand, but we saved half that village from drowning. I'll consider that a good trade off.

Mack looks up at John. "There's your Japanese connection." She closes the book and looks at the ribbons hanging from many of them. "Looks like I have a lot of reading to do."

Constantine looks at Mack judiciously, then gestures vaguely with one hand. "Start labelling the binders first, by year. Then get a handful of those cheap little composition books at Wal-mart and label them, and put notes into each one. References, notations to consult other journals, things of that sort," Constantine advises Mack. He hunkers down next to her, running a hand along the spine of the book she holds. "Your granddad had a lot of history on this boat. This is his legacy- his connection to it. And to you," Constantine tells Mack, murmuring in an earnest tone. He falls silent, searching her face, the water lapping against the hull of the ship. "You're probably going to learn more about Frank than you'd prefer, but this is the only way to make that connection with the tattoo. Are you up for it?"

Mack leans a little against John, because there is a huge weight of history in these books and what her future holds. For just a moment, she lets her walls down. Then she straightens up again, as if realizing that tiny second of weakness. "I don't see that I have much of a choice. But Frank wouldn't put me in harm's way intentionally. Whatever this tattoo is about, it's supposed to help me in some way, save me." She grimaces at him. "You do realize I didn't even finish high school, right? And now you're giving me a shit ton of homework?" She smirks.

Squatting next to Mack, Constantine looks a bit surprised and baffled when the tough-as-nails sailor leans against him. Awkwardly, he reaches a hand up, almost patting her hair, when Mack pulls away, and Constantine smoothly turns the motion into running his fingers through his own crazed hairline.

"Research is the key to success," Constantine quips at Mack. "I've been saved by more dusty books than I have anything else in my life." He straightens up, adjusting the trenchcoat around him as if suddenly chilly. "The cross-indexing is going to help, believe me," Constantine says. "You'll find a journal entry in '53 that will reference the Japanese coast again, I'm sure. It's almost certainly not the only time he made that trip." He turns away from Mack suddenly and goes to the table, wiping down the chalk and scattering the candles into his doctor's valise.

"Any way we can look up who this Katsuji guy was? We know he looked Frank's age, but if he had a granddaughter he had to be a lot older than granddad was in 43. I mean, Frank would have been maybe 20 then. Other than that we have his village, and the fact he had a young granddaughter then, and was a fisherman." Mack stands and moves to settle down onto what serves as sofa seating, really a banquette sort of structure that partially lines two walls.

Constantine is quiet, thinking as he packs his accotrements away. "Possibly," he says. "Small village like that, no surname, it's probably a family name or something similar- everyone knows everyone," he explains, looking back at Mack. "There are usually family spirits protecting villages like that. I could probably whistle up a hatoke, but there's always a cost for that kind of knowledge." He looks over at Mack, walking a pace towards her with his valise in one hand. "Mostly though they like good food and drink. If we can lay hands on some good food- decent sake, a couple of gourmet edibles- I'm sure we can at least get some innocent information out of it. Barring this Katsuji being a madoushi or something," Constantine frowns. "That might make it a bit trickier."

"Or what if Katsuji is the Horishi?" Mack theorizes. "That would explain the artist painting up a gaijin." She seems to get a faraway look, holding the journal against herself like it's a life preserver. "He'd be damned old though if they're the same person. Maybe a relative of Katsuji?" She's definitely perplexed by it all, but she also seems a bit relieved at resolving the issue of her ghostly grandfather.

Constantine shakes his head. "Don't start doing 'what ifs'," he instructs Mack. "Information first. Find out if your grandfather visited the man again. Saw him, or met a descendent or a relative. If you start trying to fill in the blanks with wild conjecture, you'll end up with a lot of half-baked theories that won't get you a bloody inch of traction. Start with the journals," Constantine admonishes her. "Then start filling in the blanks."

Mack nods and she tucks her feet up under her on the sofa. "Right. A lot of reading. You mentioned something about warding the boat? So it'd be safe to stay here again?" she asks, looking over at him. "Or do you want to stay the night and be my mighty protector," she smirks.

At that reminder, Constantine sighs and tosses his valise onto the table and shucks out of his trenchcoat, rubbing his forearms briskly. "It's going to take me most of a day to ward something this big," Constantine admits, looking around. "Never done a boat before. Houses are easy- doors and windowsills and the chimney, Bob's your uncle, it's done." He reaches into his valise and pulls out a book that's a /bit/ too big to actually fit in it, along with a composition notebook, and moves towards the sofa, flopping onto it a few inches from Mack and setting the book in front of him, flipping through pages. "But I'm going to need some hot coffee, scotch, and some bloody heat in here. Colder than a witch's teat," he complains in a dour tone.

That gets a laugh from Mack and she gets up to rummage in a cupboard. She hands him a half empty bottle of scotch from her stash. "You think this is cold? Pussy." She snickers as she heads into the hall to turn up the heat and turn on the coffee maker in the galley.

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