NEO GEISHA is a graphic tale of self-discovery through the harrowing journey of Philomene Doucette, a beautiful made-to-order assassin struggling between her programming and her desire for free will.
Off the grid and living under an alias, former assassin Philomene Doucette is forcibly brought back into the belly of the beast as she battles to win her release from the C.I.A. and one step ahead of her vengeful half-brother.
Neo Geisha-Dreams Deferred
Philomene enjoys the minutia of life at the American University of Paris. Her second year as an art history major finds her with friends, even on an occasional date. All without the chatter of her other-selves, who have been quiet of late. Hurrying down the dorm stairwell to meet up with her oh-so-cute study partner, Philomene and her friend are gearing up for an all-nighter at the campus library, but on the way, they're ambushed by armed men. Like riding a bike, Philomene effortlessly kills her attackers as her hapless companion stands rooted in fear.
With the attack over, she mouths an apology and runs off with the flutter of wings sounding in her ear. Although she wishes otherwise, Philomene makes room for the part of her that delights in the kill. And because old habits die hard, the former assassin goes to Union Station where a locker awaits her holding a duffel bag of several passports, various denominations of money, a change of clothing, replete with a wig, and an untraceable, 3D-printed, plastic, D.I.Y., semi-automatic gun. Philomene grabs her contraband, changes her attire, and boards a train bound for Pigalle. If memory serves her right, Le Pigalle Hotel was an Albanian Laundromat. Surveillance-free and a perfect place to figure out her next move.
Detective Lavigne of the organized crime unit arrives as the bodies are being tagged and bagged. Campus homicides are rare - hired hitters on campus are even rarer. He talks with the first responder who called it in, then to the only witness to the crime, who goes on and on about his "killer" date. Lavigne becomes obsessed with finding the missing student. Further digging reveals that the lethal student's identity belongs to an eighty-year-old woman, institutionalized in Fuji. With not much to go on, the cop runs with his only hit - D.N.A. identified one of the thugs as a New Orleans mob associate.
Lost in thought, Philomene makes her way towards the southern slopes of Montmartre. Much intel and personal knowledge went into finding her, which means that her half-brother Junior was somehow involved. She wasn't surprised; she knew he wouldn't take Beau's demise lightly, and Philomene also knows that she will never find peace if they can't come to an understanding. Arriving at the hotel, she presents a Canadian passport and books a room for 3-nights, long enough to figure out how to get out of France undetected.
Once in the room, Philomene decides to take a temperature check and determine how much the local authorities know. As she takes off her customized flash drive necklace, images of Tadakai come flooding back, and her Six-Year-Old self weeps because the Monarch Queen won't let her.
After a few keystrokes, Philomene inserts the drive and connects directly with her young friend, the Hacker. She learns that a bulletin is out, and a newly made detective is doggedly connecting the dots. The Hacker gives her a name and address.
Under the cover of the night, Philomene breaks into the Detective's house and pulls a gun on him; she explains to him that she doesn't want to hurt him, but if he continues to dig into her past, then he will flag the attention of folks who will kill him. Philomene knows she's risking capture by being there, but after two years free from killing, she was loathed to rack up a body count. Up to her old tricks, she kisses him and knocks him out with a narcotic laced lipstick. When he wakes up, he sees that she has rifled through his apartment.
The Detective can't let it go, and the Agency is counting on it. Lavigne steps up his efforts to find Philomene. He scours surveillance footage from all possible travel routes, cross-checks customer manifests for foreign passports and gets a hit in Lisbon. He tracks her down to a warehouse apartment in the Alfama. She pulls her gun again, but this time to lay down. She kicks it away, then gets down on her knees, placing her hands behind her head. The windows break, and agents scale in, shouting at the Detective to throw down his weapon. He yells that he is a policeman in both French and English. After he puts down his gun, they tackle. He looks incredulously at Philomene and asks, "Who are you? A woman emerges from the agents, tall, imposing, but not without attraction, and replies, "Property of the United States," as the butt of a gun makes contact with his face.
An agent restrains Philomene and is about to hood her when she begs the woman to let the Detective go. Because her pleas fall on deaf ears, Philomene lunges at her only to be yanked away before she can make contact. She feels a prick on the side of her neck.
Philomene wakes up in an interrogation room, seated in a chair with her hands and feet, chained to an iron ring mounted on the floor. There are cameras mounted on the wall and a two-way mirror all around. A nurse comes in with an IV drip and inserts it into her arm. Philomene struggles out of habit before licking her lips; sodium pentothal? Amytal? SP-117 - they were borrowing from the Russians.
A male voice over the intercom proceeds to interrogate Philomene, but she threatens to bite down the cyanide capsule in her back molar if she can't speak to the real power. The room goes quiet, then the door opens, revealing two armed guards and the formidable woman from earlier. 'The woman sits across from Philomene and signals to the guards to pry Philomene's mouth apart. Philomene's threat proves false. She laughs uncontrollably. The woman nods at the nurse, who slows down the drip.
The woman asks Philomene if she knows why she is being detained?
Philomene says it's because she killed the big bad wolf. The woman corrects her - you killed your father. Philomene laughs uncontrollably; again. The nurse shuts the drip off.
The woman leafs through a file until she sees a name. The Green-Eyed-One. A remnant of Philomen's only failed mission. The Agency seeks to conscript the Green-Eyed-One's eidetic memory to infiltrate and purloin North Korea's infamous Slush Fund, Bureau 39.
Philomene is tasked to bring him in, and to motivate her, the woman raises her hand in a gesture, and the curtain draws back automatically. An old black woman, sitting in a rocking chair, comes into view. The room has been outfitted with the accouterments of a senior facility. Philomene tries to go to her but is pulled down by her confines. Tears roll down her face. The pretty assassin is the most successful material to come out of the monarch program. Nothing is off-limits, not even sequestering a supposedly dead mother. The woman tells Philomene to thank Junior for her mother's disappearance. One is privy to all sorts of information when hiding in the kitchen pantry. Escape plans are one of them. Philomene pulls at her chains again.
Compelled by her mother's confinement, the assassin and accompanying agents travel back to Japan and capture the Green-Eyed-One for conditioning. Philomene undergoes reconditioning herself, then both are given aliases and sent to South Korea, her at a N.I.S. fronted bank; Him, the Kaesong Industrial Complex (K.I.C.), inside North Korea just across the demilitarized zone from South Korea. The Green-Eyed-One uses his talent to move illicit products to earn access to the inner working of Bureau 39.
Philomene again enlists the services of her young Hacker friend, and together, she and the Green-Eyed-One make off with the coveted information. Instead of returning to the facility to debrief, they devise a plan to escape with her mother. Philomene cherishes her mother's moments of lucidity, and because the Green-Eyed-One stays to protect them, she falls deeper in love with him. Philomene's time with her mother is brief. When she dies. Philomene makes room for the butterflies. It is past time she paid her half-brother a visit.
Art by Calvin Sims