Of Records And Lists

"Of Records and Lists"

Who: Marcel & Christiane
IC Date: May 1940
OOC Date: Feb. 12, 2008
Where: Arras Town Hall, France

What: Marcel tries to make sense of the confusion in Arras' bureaucratic records. Christiane searches for a shred of hope in reams of paperwork.

Logger: Christiane

Arras Town Hall (15 2)
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The Grid-----> > > > > THE GREATEST GENERATION < < <


The Town Hall is in a shambles as German bombs has hit it heavily. The left side of the building is closed off entirely as it's completely unstable for use, and the upper levels are not used either. The right side is still open with harried staff using what's left of the place for their day to day work. Entering through an arched doorway, a large hallway meets the eye, with a staircase straight ahead leading to upper levels in the grand building. Gothic style is everywhere, but mixed with modernities such as a phone on a wall, and some modern art on the walls.

It is currently daytime.

Sub-Rooms :

Contents
Christiane
Marcel

Office <OF> Out <O>

Things are quite busy in the Town Hall, the local government is in a panic now that's been all but cut off from central authorities and abandoned by its defenders. The heavy damage to the building is also complicating normal procedures, so even the entrance is a confused mess of boxes, bureaucrats and local politicians. Marcel is currently sitting on a small stool to the side of the hallway, constantly cleaning his spectacles as he goes through several boxes of documents, some of which seem unfortunately charred.

Marcel's Description
Marcel is a middle-aged man of average stature, with a slight build, rounded about the middle. His black hair is beginning to gray at the temples, and it has definitely begun to grow sparse atop his head, which he attempts to counter with strategic combing. He has a round, soft face, clean-shaven but for the thin moustache on his upper lip. His beady brown eyes hide behind small spectacles, perched on a small thin nose.
He wears a three-piece dark gray suit and necktie, shiny black leather shoes, and a pocket watch. The cut of his outfit is rather antiquated, far from fashionable, about what you might expect might be bought from a cheap local tailor.

Christiane slips into the town hall, stepping carefully around the boxes and other bureaucratic clutter. She spies Marcel through all of this. She can't help but give a little wince of sympathy as she watches him. Spectacles and all. She clears her throat softly as she comes up behind him. "Monsieur Mollet?"

Christiane's Description
A woman of about forty years, in the autumn of her life, but still with a quiet strength about her manner and a spring in her step girls half her age might envy. Only a few lines have etched their way onto her fair-skinned face - made from smiles and laughter - and her shoulder-length hair is still more light brown than gray. She is of average height and weight, with a face that is pleasant but unremarkable. The most arresting feature she possesses is her eyes. They are a deep gray, just a few shades too stormy for blue, and hold a look of intelligence and compassion, mixed with a quiet sadness of one who has seen much hardship over the years. When she speaks a trace of a Belgian accent lilts her words, though its been softened by years in the Arras region of France.
She's dressed like any other village woman of comfortable but not wealthy means. Her dress is white patterned in blue roses, paired with sensible shoes, and a white gingham apron around her waist keeps it from getting too dirty. She moves with a natural grace and determined efficiency, carried on her path by a pair of sensible brown leather shoes. A gold wedding ring adorns the third finger of her left hand, the only jewelry she can be seen wearing.

The poor man has even discarded his jacket, and works only in his vest and shirt. Hearing someone call out to him, he looks up, gives his glasses a nudge, and stares for a moment at Christiane, before rising to his feet, still holding a yellowed piece of paper in one hand. The civil servant inclines his head and forces a faint smile onto his lips, "Madame." he looks about the mess with an apologetic expression, "You will have to pardon this… confusion. Everything is so confusing."

"No pardon necessary," Christiane says with a small wave of her hand. "These are difficult times for all of us." But her expression is troubled as she takes in the paperwork chaos that is Town Hall at the moment. For a moment she just stands there. Suddenly hesitant. But finally she takes a breath and asks, "I was wondering, Monsieur, if you had records on the refugees. The ones that have been moving through the countryside, into France." Unlikely, as there are a good many refugees flying France itself at the moment.

Marcel's face tightens in a faint grimace of a frown. "Refugees, Madame? No, not here." he rubs a hand across his chin and looks pensive. "They are of course… they should be, of course, recorded at the border. I imagine they must have been. But not here. A few perhaps have informed us, but, in these times who cares for such things? Our regulations are flouted, Madame. I could look…" he glances about the building, "If any were directed to Arras, then we should have received a… list of some sort. But Madame, it is anarchy out there." he waves the document in his other hand at the door.

Christiane nods at that answer. It was pretty much what she'd expected. But she's not going away. "It is those directed to Arras that I am interested in. If you could please check any…list you have. If you have the time. I would be most grateful." She's outwardly calm. The nurse rarely allows herself to appear outwardly ruffled. But there's an undercurrent of something quite desperate beneath her brisk manner.

Marcel bends forward, gracelessly, to deposit the paper he'd been holding atop the pile in one of the boxes, then wipes his hands and returns his attention to Christiane. "I will see what I can find. If they have sent anything… it might not even be here, it could be at the Gendarmerie." he tries to step out from the midst of his piles of boxes, carefully, his entire body wobbling out of balance for a moment or two before he regains his footing, but not before tripping over one of the cardboard boxes. "Ah no, no, no!" he looks disconsolate at the papers as they scatter on the floor, and tugs a handkerchief out to wipe at his face with before setting his attention on Christiane once more, "Is there a name I am looking for, Madame?"

Christiane sighs, unable to completely mask her frustration as Marcel trips and papers scatter. "Albert Ingels," she informs him, in as blank a tone as she can muster. "Dr. Albert Ingels. He would have been coming from Ghent, in Belgium." Mrs. Morgenstern has lived in Arras for more than twenty years, but most life-long residents likely still recall she is a Belgian born.

"Dr. Albert Ingels." Marcel repeats, commiting the name to memory as he returns the handkerchief to a pocket. "I will see if we have received any notice, but it could take a while, Madame." he confesses with a crestfallen sigh. Then, mustering some reserve of bureaucratic zeal, he attempts to smile once more, "But I shall look. And I shall do what I can to contact the border services…" his smile falters momentarily as his voice fades, "They have been overrun, of course. But… perhaps they managed to get some of their records out before the Germans… well."

"Perhaps…" Christiane does not even look at Marcel as she repeats that, in a murmur to herself. She's well aware how slim the chances are but she has to try. At his attempted smile, she managed one of her own. "Thank you, Monsieur Mollet." It's sincere. She appreciates even the effort. "Do you need some help sorting all…this?" She gestures a hand around at the mess. "Things are quiet at the hospital since the British pulled out."

Marcel lifts a hand, and taps a finger to the side of his balding head. "And I shall make a note to the Gendarmerie that we are to be informed if they locate a Dr. Albert Ingels, or if he reports there when he arrives." the civil servant adds with a little added confidence in his voice, hoping to impart it to Christiane. Then he looks down at the papers, and a few deep creases set upon his brow, "Thank you, Madame, but no. It is imperative that you rest, Madame. I am… I do not really know what I am doing. Trying to… stave off anarchy in my little corner, such as it is. But for now, the safety of the people must be our first priority, Madame, and we do not know what the Germans will do next. You should rest what you can."

Christiane nods at that, crossing her arms along her chest. "You're right. Of course, you're right. I just…I have never been good at sitting idle. It always seems worse, the waiting. But of course, I suppose it is not really worse, it is?" She sighs. "Thank you again, Monsieur. There is probably little point…I have not heard from my brother in nearly three months now, and in his last letter he was insistent about staying in Belgium. Albert was always too stubborn. But as bad as things have gotten…I had to check, you know?"

"Of course, Madame. Of course. When the telephone is repaired-" he waves a hand in admonishment at the poor phone installed on a wall, "-I shall try to contact nearby towns as well, perhaps they have… more accurate lists." he wrings his hands, really, then tosses out another attempt at morale-boosting, "But you are not sitting idle, Madame. You are… recuperating… resting one of our most precious resources, Madame. Where would we be without you, Madame? After these bombings, after all this, where we would we be? The safety and health of the population must be our priority!" as he's about to launch into another line about anarchy, someone calls Monsieur Mollet from atop the stairs. "One moment!" he calls out, then looks at you, "You will have to excuse me. But I shall… if I find anything, I will let you know. I will also leave a note that you are to be informed of the procedings in case you come by and I am not here." a weak smile, a nod of the head that's just about tipping over into a bow, and then he hurries upstairs, "What? What?"

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