A Pattern That Others Made May Prevail In The World And Foll

[14:56] <Yanmei> It had been less than two days since her fateful time in this office, and yet it seemed like so much longer. Yanmei sat on the couch facing Alphonse, a small leather briefcase that she had purchased just that morning from one of the few shops that were still open in Boston right now at her side.-
[15:00] <Yanmei> This was the only place where they could talk without Rei or Isaiah or Group Captain Guillory or Lizzie around… not that that last person would have understood. In other words, it was private. As private as one could get with hidden cameras around.-
[15:02] <Yanmei> "…so you're feeling all right?" Yanmei was saying, smiling. She herself was tired, maybe visibly so, but she cut a damn official figure in the uniform she was wearing.
[15:03] <Alphonse> "As best that can be hoped." He said, looking over at her, looking a little worn down himself. "I'm worried…"
[15:04] <Yanmei> "Yeah?" she pressed gently.
[15:07] <Alphonse> "Well, I mean…" He frowned a little down at his computer now, looking away. "Rei… I always knew she was going to be hurt some day. We both did, and we were prepared for it, but not like this. This isn't an injury you can fix with surgery and biogel. Some being was targetting our very relationship and using it as a weapon, striking her where she was weakest. I'm not… I'm not sure how this is going to turn out."
[15:16] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei looked away for a moment too, mirroring his own actions. She came back to him, though, and then nodded. "It may take some time for her to recover? You should try talking to her in the meantime. It's like…" She frowned a little, thinking. "If that thing called into question what you mean to each other, isn't this the time to reinforce that very thing? Or at least sort it out and think about it."
[15:17] * Alphonse nods. "We have. Talking about it, we mean."
[15:18] <Yanmei> "That's good!" Yanmei nodded again. "Do you think it's helping?"
[15:20] <Alphonse> "I think so." He smiled a little. "I've tried to address her worries as best I can. She's terrified that something's going to take me away."
[15:23] <Yanmei‘> "Something… I can imagine how scary that must be. Poor girl…"
[15:24] <Alphonse> "Yes." He said quietly. "You would know, wouldn’t you? I'm sorry, Yanmei."
[15:31] <Yanmei‘> "You have nothing to apologize for. Desperate times call for desperate measures? And anyway, it was his decision." She smiled wryly. "That’s not me insisting that I wasn't scared out of my mind at the time. But still…"
[15:33] * Alphonse shook his head. "You're still worried though, aren't you? That he'll be chosen."
[15:34] <Yanmei‘> "…" Yanmei’s smile shifted. "You've been paying attention, huh?"#
[15:37] <Alphonse> "It wasn't very hard." He said. "I'm not an idiot, Yanmei. If I were you, the signs would be all too clear. A Committee that nulls the deadlock which blocked the first attempt to make him a pilot… The realisation that he's all too willing to pilot if someone's life is in danger… And, on his first attempt, his Evangelion utterly destroys an Angel. Yes. I'd be very worried indeed."
[15:43] <Yanmei‘> "And what would you do if all of these threats were making you worry like this?"#
[15:59] <Alphonse> "I would find ways to remove the danger they posed."
[16:07] <Yanmei`> "Heh. I know, right?" Yanmei nodded. "Maybe diffusion’s a better word? Or…" She grew thoughtful a moment. "Captain Wellesley?"
[16:08] <Alphonse> "Yes, Yanmei?"
[16:11] <Yanmei‘> "There’s been something I've been thinking about since the incident. I know your scientists have probably had their fill of data from 08's rejected pilots, but how about one more?"
[16:11] * Alphonse blinked. "… Why?"
[16:12] <Yanmei‘> "I’d like to synch with EVA-08."
[16:13] <Alphonse> "Again: why?"#
[16:17] <Yanmei‘> "08’s personality came from Isaiah's mother, didn't it? If that's true, then I think I can guess at how it feels… why it will only synch with Isaiah properly."
[16:20] <Alphonse> "Oh?"
[16:26] <Yanmei‘> "When you come down to it, what I’m going to do in the next few months is the same thing as distancing a child from his mom. It's not that I feel guilty? But…" She tapped her fingers against her briefcase. "At the same time, I feel like this is an obligation? Like, meeting that woman, or whatever's left of her, is something I'm supposed to do."
[16:30] <Alphonse> "You intend to meet your mother-in-law?" He asked quietly, slightly incredulously. "That's quite the train of logic you have there, Yanmei."
[16:32] <Yanmei‘> "Sorry. It’ll be hard to convince people to go along with that, huh?"
[16:34] <Alphonse> "Is that your actual reason, or is it something else?"
[16:38] <Yanmei‘> "I’m not going to try to sabotage your EVA, Captain. I wouldn't stand a chance if I tried?"
[16:39] <Alphonse> "I wouldn't dare to accuse you of that. I'm just wondering…" He frowned thoughtfully. "Well, nevermind. Your reasons are your own. I doubt it'll work, but there's no harm in trying."
[16:40] <Yanmei‘> "Thank you, Captain."
[16:41] * Alphonse nodded. "Go put on one of Rei’s plugsuits, and I'll tell the bridge crew to get ready for testing."
[16:44] <Yanmei‘> "Yes, sir." She rose. "I’ll be ready shortly." And she headed off to do just that!
[16:54] <Alphonse> [And thus it wouldn't be long before she was sitting in the Entry Plug, clad in Rei's white Plugsuit. The LCL hadn't been pumped in yet.-
[16:54] <Alphonse> "Are we ready, Zhang?"
[16:55] <Yanmei‘> "Yes." Her hands shook ever so slightly out of sight. Her face, however, was placid.
[17:04] <Alphonse> "Begin the first level connection."-
[17:04] <Alphonse> [The LCL began to pour in, as usual. Before long, Yanmei was engulfed.-
[17:06] <Alphonse> "Begin second level contact."-
[17:06] <Alphonse> ["Roger, entering second level contact."-
[17:07] <Alphonse> [A kaleidoscope of colour and images began to swirl around Yanmei- but barely half a second in, they vanished, as though someone had ripped out a TV’s power cable, the image fading.-
[17:07] <Alphonse> ["Synchronisation failed…"]
[17:11] * Yanmei‘ blinked a few times, trying to clear her vision. Her face a little paler now. She leaned back in her seat a little. "Could… we try again…?"
[17:20] <Alphonse> "Very well. Begin second level contact!"-
[17:20] <Alphonse> ["Entering second level contact."-
[17:21] <Alphonse> [That same dazzling display… But this time, instead of cutting off, it… Distorted for a second, twisting, letting out a keening screech only Yanmei could hear- worse than a thousand nails over one thousand blackboards. At the same time, Yanmei’s head was jerked back, smacking into the headrest violently. Only then did the display vanish.-
[17:21] <Alphonse> ["Failed."]
[17:24] <Yanmei‘> "Ngh…" Yanmei held her eyes shut, and clenched her jaw. "Keep trying."
[17:24] <Alphonse> "Are you sure?"
[17:26] <Yanmei`> "I’m fine?" She opened an eye slowly, and made a slow smile. "This is no problem."
[17:31] <Alphonse> "Alright. Begin it again, Macquarie."-
[17:32] <Alphonse> ["Yessir. Entering second level contact."-#
[17:33] <Alphonse> [This time, the kaleidoscope began again… It flowed along, becoming brighter, and brighter as it went from one display to another…-
[17:34] <Alphonse> [A second later, it was gone. The Plug was clear, Yanmei couldn't see the LCL- a sign of synchronisation…-
[17:34] <Alphonse> ["Synchronisation complete!"-
[17:34] <Alphonse> "Watch out. It could be a false synchronisation."
[17:39] <Yanmei‘> False? Yanmei stared out straight ahead, frowning.
[17:44] <Alphonse> [She started to feel hot…-
[17:44] <Alphonse> [Something dripped upon her head.]
[17:47] <Yanmei`> Dripping? In suspended fluid? She shifted uncomfortably, and looked up.#
[14:02] <Misato`> [The roof was melting.-
[14:02] <Misato`> [The metal and glass of the Entry Plug was turning into a blackened, oily slag that congealed like a thick liquid. Drops were splattering upon her, but moreso, it was spreading across the rest of the Plug.]
[14:09] <Yanmei> "Captain…" Yanmei stared in absolute horror. Did she pass out? Had she hit her head too hard the last time? But… she -felt- it splattering onto her. She wiped a large splash of it from her cheek with the sleeve of her plugsuit. "What’s happening?!"
[14:09] <Misato‘> ["…" No response from the outside.-
[14:10] <Misato`> [The oil clung to her plugsuit, beginning to spread across it- up the arm, towards the shoulder.-
[14:11] <Misato`> [It continued to creep across the roof until her view of the outside was completely blocked.-
[14:13] <Misato`> [Then- either formed from that foul oil or coming out of it- appeared two arms of the same material, dangling in front of her. They were long and thin, fragile, emaciated. They were facing away from her- the elbows were directed at her, as though someone were sitting far above her.]
[14:23] * Yanmei …stared, seemingly frozen. She was trying to force the part of her brain that made sense of these bizarre sort of happenings into overdrive, but it wasn’t having much of an effect. "Um…" She dared to swallow. Followed the arms up with her eyes, to where the shoulders and head would have been places.
[14:23] <Yanmei> ^placed
[14:30] <Misato‘> [The arms joined shoulders, which terminated in a warped, twisted carriage of a human ribcage.-
[14:31] <Misato`> [There was a -crack- as the arms snapped back, hurtling towards her- they grabbed at her face and neck, backwards to the elbows, which had clearly broken.]
[14:40] <Yanmei> "Ahhh!" She resisted, panicked, flailed. It did no good. There was no friction between them - grabbing the creature was like grabbing at rubber soaked in oil. -
[14:43] <Yanmei> "Wait! Wait a minute!" A reason. She was here for a reason, even if her mind had started to jerk away from it. "Just… hear me out!!"
[14:46] <Misato`> [The hands didn’t stop moving, but they didn't seem as violent anymore. Their chilled, cold fingers seemed to still a little.]
[14:50] <Yanmei> "I'm trying to protect him too! Against Angels, against humans…" She didn't stop struggling. "Come on, you -must- know who I am!" #
[15:00] <Misato‘> ["…" There was no response from the entity, not verbally.]
[15:09] <Yanmei> "I’m… I'm his friend. Isaiah's, not Elijah's."
[15:16] <Misato‘> ["……" Another splash of oil, this time on Yanmei’s legs, sealing them in place.]
[15:22] <Yanmei> "…" Obviously, that was the wrong thing to say. She shut her eyes, focusing hard…
[15:27] <Misato‘> ["…"-
[15:36] <Misato`> [The hands started to dig into her face now, painfully, trying to rip open her mouth.]
[15:43] <Yanmei> Things…were starting to make sense. Not this conversation, but other things, at least. "All right, all right!" She tried to shake them off, some of her own anger backlashing. -Fine-, the point, she’d get to it! "You protected him back there! There are people who want to make him their puppet, and he'll have to fight for them against people and monsters like that last one! It'll hurt him! Do you want that?"
[15:47] <Misato‘> [The oil rippled, then vanished…]
[15:52] * Yanmei stumbled a little, surprised, and rubbed her face. Damn it… "You’d be together with him, but it'd be at that cost!" Her anger wasn't exactly at the same level now. "I know you were separated way too soon? But you were close, right? That's why I want you to know the situation. -They- won't tell you. And -he's- oblivious."
[15:53] <Misato‘> ["……"-
[15:54] <Misato`> Yanmei could see… Something, barely, in the glass of her Plug windows, like a reflection she couldn’t quite grasp. She could move closer, however- perhaps see it better.]
[15:56] * Yanmei did move. Cautiously. That grappling match was still fresh on her mind.
[15:59] <Misato‘> [There was a face.-
[16:03] <Misato`> [A pale, alabaster-white face with gaping, empty eyes, a marionette’s mask. It… Was terrifyingly familiar.-
[16:03] <Misato‘> [It smiled at her with a smile made from knives.]
[16:13] * Yanmei stared at it. And then her eyes narrowed dangerously. A fist lashed out, cracking hard against the glass. "Don’t screw with me! I'm being serious! The least you could do is be the same!"
[16:15] <Misato‘> [As she touched the glass, a sudden pain shot through her abdomen.-
[16:16] <Misato`> [The marionette was still smiling.-
[16:16] <Misato`> [Long, thin arms had emerged from the base of the Entry Plug. They were holding a gleaming sword- a sword that was embedded in her.]
[16:22] <Yanmei> "Ah." She reached for the hilt of the sword, not knowing exactly what she should be doing, but driven by the hazy sense that it should not be there. The pain… ripped through her suddenly. "W-wh…y…?"
[16:25] <Misato`> [But things were starting to go dark, even as she placed her hands on the shivering cold hilt…]
[16:28] <Yanmei> Dark. An escape from pain. She could almost relish that. So confused. So hurt…
[16:29] <Misato`> ["… Yanmei?"-
[16:29] <Misato`> [She was in the Plug, unharmed, suspended in LCL. The Synchronisation was broken.]
[16:32] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei blinked. She stared into the darkness of her plug for a long time. That voice…
[16:34] <Misato`> ["Yanmei? Are you alright?" Alphonse…]
[16:35] <Yanmei> "Yes, Captain," she managed at last. She tried to pull herself together. Her hands were shaking again. "What happened…?"
[16:35] <Misato`> ["You synchronised, and then for one second your synchronisation went absolutely mad, and you passed out. Now it’s broken."]
[16:37] <Yanmei> "Is that normal?" It was not normal, she decided.#
[16:37] <Misato‘> ["No, it isn’t."]
[16:38] <Yanmei> "Right." She rested her head against her seat, and brought her hands up to her midsection for a moment. Still whole… "I think we're done for today?"
[16:40] <Misato‘> ["Yes, so do I. Let’s pull her out, gentlemen."-
[16:40] <Misato‘> [A minute later, the Entry Plug was removed- and Yanmei allowed to exit. Alphonse was waiting for her.]
[16:43] * Yanmei wasn’t relaxed by any stretch of the imagination. The plug removal process had bought her a bit of time, though. Time to rally with at least a halfway decent polite face. "Sorry about all of this. I made you go through a lot of trouble for me."
[16:44] <Misato‘> ["Did you learn anything helpful?"]
[16:46] <Yanmei> "…I don’t know. Communication was pretty weird. Some misunderstandings. She stabbed me."
[16:47] <Misato`> ["… I see. Not the best way to meet the in-laws."]
[16:50] * Yanmei gave a half-grin. "It happens. I just need some time to think, I guess?"
[16:52] <Misato`> ["Mm. You go have a shower. Leave the Plugsuit wherever; someone will come and pick it up." Said Alphonse, looking a little purturbed. He looked up at the Evangelion worriedly. "Just what do we have here…?"]
[16:54] <Yanmei> "…" Yanmei glanced up at it too, but hers was a different expression. A sort of sad one. "A mother who really loves her baby."

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