Athens, Greece. Thursday, 25 June 1925
Francis steps out of the murky atmosphere of the taberna. Even at this late hour, Athens bustles around him; the sound of singing, loud conversation, and cursing swirls around him. He yawns, and stretches his back. The trip to Athens—48 hours of hell, from Trieste to Athens via several ferries and a backbreaking ride on a Greek bus—still isn’t quite forgotten by his stiff muscles.
Suddenly, he spins and draws his automatic. A man step out of the shadows, holding a gun on Francis.
“Well well well shamus,” says Eddie Gaffigan, “imagine meeting you here. D’ye wanna get a drink?”
“What do you want to do, count to three and we’ll both holster our pieces?”
They both pause.
“Ah, if you’re going to shoot me, you’re going to shoot me,” says Gaffigan, putting away his gun. He enters thetaberna. Shrugging, Francis holsters his gun and follows.
They order drinks. Francis grabs an ouzo, and Eddie orders wine. “I’ve been a Frenchie so long I can’t stop drinkin’ the stuff,” he says. He’s returned to his native Northern Irish accent, Francis notices.
“Ye wouldn’t happen to know where Eloise is, d’ye?”
“Ah, ‘tis to be expected. You’re probably right, it wasn’t a good plan. I had a way to control Gévaud, but there were too many unexpected vectors on that.”
He pushes away his glass. “We’re not so different, shamus, you and I. I just made some different choices that were probably wrong, a long time ago.”
“I would say that it’s not too late, but in your case, I really think it is.”
“I can’t disagree with you there, Francis. What d’ye say we finish this thing?”
“I think we’re finished.”
“Oh, we’re not finished, not you and I. You won, don’t get me wrong, it’s all over with me now. It’s for Eloise, no matter whose fault it is. A man’s gotta do something when the love of his life gets kidnapped.”
[I am not ashamed to have stolen that sentiment from the last five minutes of The Maltese Falcon, possibly the best acting Humphrey Bogart ever did.]
“And yet instead of chasing after her, you went to Venice to take care of business.”
“Boyo, you have no idea of the forces you’re up against.”
“I really don’t.”
“All I can tell you is, when it comes to the Carlyles, not a single bloody one of the bloody expedition is dead. People are going to tell you it’s Penhew you have to watch out for. I worked for him for many years. The man is seriously crazy. He’s into things I can’t even imagine. But I don’t even think he’s the one to worry about.”
He looks at Francis with a mad glint in his eyes. “They’re going to be coming for you now, boyo. You have a very big name to ye. The organization’s gonna be looking for you.”
“Well, if you could find me, it shouldn’t be hard for them.”
“The thing is I’m a wee bit better at infiltration than they are, which is how I found you.”
“I’m going to be honest with you. I need to find out what happened to my cousin.”
“Well, we certainly tried to kill her in Paris. We almost did, except for your little friend the newspaperman. I hear they buried him in an envelope.”
“If I find out anything in the course of my investigation about Eloise, I’ll tell you.”
“No, boyo, I think we need to have it out right now—”
There’s a popping noise. Gafigan looks down. Francis has his silenced pistol out—the same pistol Gavigan had thrown him back in Paris.
“I was right,” he says, slumping down. “Not so different.”
Francis jams the pistol into his waistband, and quickly sneaks Gaffigan’s wallet out of his coat. He tosses a few bills on the bar.
“Sorry about the mess,” he says, and leaves.
[So, I wanted to give the PCs some closure on Gavigan, and not keep him in my back pocket; too many not-quite-dead villains drags things down and robs the PCs of their initiative.
Gaffigan/Gavigan was at the end of his rope. His entire life had been one long game of raising the stakes, until somebody finally came to call his bluff and it all came crashing down. He most definitely had a death-wish.
I had a vision of a nifty gun fight on the moonlight Acropolis (actually impossible, because it was the new moon at this point), but OP cut to the chase in a much more entertaining way. Given a chance, Gaffigan would have tried to kill Francis for sure—but he was really out of options no matter what, hunted by the cult, bereft of resources, and Eloise irretrievably gone. So RIP, Eddie. You were fun to play.]