Aline 3 Ezra

[08:39:52] <‘Blanc> Significant amounts of time had passed now, and Aline was going about ’breaking in' her Phantoms. There were walks around the Prime quarters and similar 'safe' areas, ample try-outs of media… as well as sub-room assignments, minutiae of living. The best was provided, but Aline took it like a teacher's job, a mother's job. With entertainment and exploration also came lessons in thought, philosophy, AT Fields… The girl's own supplemental training routine was designed to take a basic phantom and turn them into a warrior-scientist that was /aware/ of what was going on in the battlefield and in their daily lives. …Of course, phantoms being phantoms, willfulness and individualism 'training' was the hardest of all. It's uncertain how far she's gotten in the time allotted, but Aline had /definitely/ put in the hours to trying to subtly encourage each Phantom to have at least enough will to speak, even if only to raise a personal issue that a group-representative or similar wouldn't have thought of. Private reading time, small-team multiplayer video games… Aline had carefully engineered such tasks. …now, though, we return to the present.
[09:09:17] <@Minaplo> [There was a low hubbub throughout the room as the Phantoms went about themselves and each other… Cooperating, commonly, but there were a few who were by themselves- but most importantly, because they chose to be.-
[09:09:38] <@Minaplo> [Aline, however, would soon have her attention drawn to the door- by the sound of it beeping.]
[09:15:38] * ‘Blanc twitched fairly significantly at that, herself sitting calmly on the ’main' bed reading… getting up with a "I'll go see who it is~" to her 'children'. …Which on a very subtle level they were? Fucking gene patches. …But soon she was at the door, checking who was there by whatever means - like a screen - available. And. "Yes…?"
[09:25:09] <@Minaplo> [There was in fact a screen, showing a tall, blonde, handsome man in a military uniform.-
[09:25:25] <@Minaplo> ["Hello! Hi. I'm Ezra Caine. Is this Aline Blanc?"]
[09:26:06] * ‘Blanc was in a simple black dress, by the by. …But. "Yes, it is! What might the visit be for?"
[09:37:51] <@Minaplo> ["Just here for a talk."]
[09:41:05] * `Blanc soon opened the door… but not after calling back to her Phantoms with a "We have a visitor! Be on decent behavior~
[09:41:08] <`Blanc> *"
[09:46:30] <@Minaplo> [This, more than anything, drew their attention. They all stopped what they were doing, and turned in unison to stare at Aline.-
[09:47:02] <@Minaplo> [Ezra waited for the door to be fully open before stepping forth, holding a hand out to Aline. He glanced towards the Phantoms for a moment, giving them a quick wave they didn’t return.]
[09:49:40] * ‘Blanc paused with a mild, significant blink at the hand offered… before taking it with her other hand. "…I’m sorry, socializing Phantoms is an extremely uphill battle…"
[09:51:53] <@Minaplo> ["I know how it goes." Said Ezra with a smile. "You free for a walk?"]
[09:54:45] * ‘Blanc pursed her lips for a moment, and idly smoothed her dress. But then, a nod. "Alright. Just a sec…" A turn! "Alright! I’m heading out for a bit to talk to Mr. Caine. Carina, you're in charge if anyone has a problem, alright?" She gave a wave. "I'll be back in some amount of time~" She assured them.
[10:19:43] <@Minaplo> [Carina gave Aline a slow, serious nod.-
[10:23:57] <@Minaplo> ["So. How're they progressing?" Asked Ezra.]
[10:25:25] <‘Blanc> "Decently. Trying to create a concept of ’individuals with a strong bond' in them rather than the 'factory'-default vaguely-indistinguishable-horde… thing." Aline said casually.
[10:30:30] <@Minaplo> ["Biggest obstacle so far?"]
[10:36:12] * ‘Blanc hummed to herself as she thought about that.
[10:36:32] <`Blanc> "…probably their reluctance to speak for themselves?"
[06:12:38] <@Mianplo> ["I can empathise. Too willing to be told what to do, huh?"]
[06:15:39] <`Blanc> "Very much so. Or afraid to… how to put. Collapse that ’group wave function' that makes them comfortably just one small piece of the group." In fact, Aline tapped her chin. "…Yeah, fear seems more likely."
[06:24:42] <@Mianplo> ["You see that sort of 'nail-sticks-out' mentality in military outfits, too." Said Ezra. "Have you tried giving them varied food courses?"]
[06:26:33] * ‘Blanc nodded her head. "…I’ve considered that a bit, but only as a side-effect of trying to ask about food preferences. …" She realized. "…I should probably actually just let them try for themselves, is what you /probably mean/."
[06:29:42] <Minaplo> ["More or less." Said Ezra. "This early on, tiny elements can end up becoming very important. Giving them all an option of, say, 30 courses, and having them pick one each…"]
[06:35:09] <‘Blanc> "Yeah. Or rotating them or… similar." Beat. "I take it you’ve experience with this kind of… individuation procedure?"
[06:40:44] <Minaplo> ["I've studied up on it." Said Ezra. "My prac experience is limited to less extreme cases…"]
[06:43:09] * ‘Blanc had a light chuckle. "Impossible for it not to be so limited."
[06:44:17] <Minaplo> ["Quite right."-
[06:44:51] <Minaplo> ["On the topic of food- you hungry?"]
[06:50:24] * `Blanc smiled gently. "I could probably eat, yes.
[06:51:48] <Minaplo> […-
[06:53:09] <Minaplo> [They were sitting at a private table on the second floor of the main food court of the Synfront.-
[06:53:20] <Minaplo> [The tables below were full, the air buzzing like angry hornets.-
[06:55:22] <Minaplo> [Ezra had a grilled steak in mushroom sauce, two buttered dinner rolls and a potato and egg salad. He’d also fetched a bottle of red wine for them both, regardless of whether Aline imbibed or not.-
[06:55:44] <Minaplo> ["So it sounds like you've arrived here through some pretty, uh, circuitous circumstances."]
[06:59:08] * ‘Blanc seemed to be a bit afraid of the wine, yet eventually sipped it. Sensed a subtle difference when it hit her tongue, and just… nodded her head once to herself. As for the meal? Aline had a plate of… she wasn’t entirely sure, but it was a white pasta with chicken but not /quite/ alfredo either. A bit more flavor and punch to it. "…So it does? I haven't really heard what others have… heard."
[07:12:14] <Minaplo> ["You're kind of a secret here to most, but the fact that you're a world famous NERV pilot is… Not."]
[07:13:47] <‘Blanc> "…Yes, that. And I suppose the ’No no I'm just an Aline-model Solomon, please ignore me' is… disingenuous at best."
[07:14:46] <Minaplo> ["We already have one of those, you see…"]
[07:15:28] * ‘Blanc was actually surprised a bit! "…Let me guess. The Parisian pilots had a one-clone limit, primes-only, set, right?"
[07:16:07] <Minaplo> ["That’s right. You haven't met your 'family'?"]
[07:22:55] * ‘Blanc thought about that, also considering the… nature of that. "How far do they even count for tha- …We could go on on that tack for days. I’ve met one so far since coming here. Uh. …For some reason the name is evading me. Part of the name. …She's the…" Aline sort of wiggled her pasta-spearing fork awkwardly. "One they gave the 'aqua' middle name to, the… black hair… female Sera-Elisha for some incomprehensible reason…"
[07:24:15] <Minaplo> ["Agatha." Said Ezra. "The friendly one."]
[07:26:08] * ‘Blanc snapped her fingers! "Right! Agatha, of course. …Yeah, she helped me out with getting to my room and that kind of thing? …From what I can piece together of their personalities from… …prior meetings…" She looked a bit shiftily, as if it was intensely awkward to talk about that time. "I’m going to imagine I'm insanely lucky none of the others were sent for 'orientation'." Rueful pause. "Especially not Scholastica."
[07:31:45] <Minaplo> ["Lucky, I suppose, but it's more that they understand pattern recognition." Said Ezra. "Of your four 'siblings', Augustine's busy, Scholastica's deeply unpleasant and Sophia's mute."]
[07:34:59] <‘Blanc> "Given that luck can be construed as ’anything good happening to you that's generally out of your personal control', I'd say we're /both/ right." Beat. "…And Joan's nine-tenths of the way to a berserker."
[07:39:46] <Minaplo> ["Quite right." Said Ezra.-
[07:40:43] <Minaplo> ["But yes, curious circumstances. You probably know more about it than I do."]
[07:45:49] <‘Blanc> "I do, yes." Aline admitted. "…It’s quite remarkable and very cunning, in a way. To play a part and then turn around later. …It was probably something only I could do, to then turn around and let myself be rebodied like that." Aline /also/ admitted. "But I guess… I'm already a clone of myself. I'm already a grandmother to thousands. What is the /difference/ at that point?"
[07:49:02] <Minaplo> ["I suppose that's one way of looking at it. You don't miss your old life?"]
[07:51:46] * ‘Blanc waved her hand a few times. "I’m going to be honest here. As much as the UEF has some nice people in it, solid commanders, and the lot… I'm not sure I quite need /more/ of de Pteres' rambling delusions of grandeur, or the /constant/ bullheaded feud with Zhang. …But at least it was warmer. I'm doing what I can with my Phantoms, but that's a pale shadow of it."
[08:01:53] <Minaplo> ["I see…"-
[08:02:00] <Minaplo> ["Feud, you say?"]
[08:04:28] <‘Blanc> "Yes!" Aline pointed out quickly. "She tended to just get solidly put off by various things I did. Finding my social uh… …stability project? To be creepy and manipulative, not liking my tone, being at odds with my openness to… science… and sometimes just plain getting mad at me for reasons I’m not even sure of."
[08:06:07] <Minaplo> ["That's quite unlike the face she presents to the world."]
[08:09:01] * ‘Blanc /groaned/ at that. "She has this really bizarre ’PR persona' going on. Where she lies to people, not in a malicious or spiteful way, but so she always looks better, probably because she's insecure? Maybe. But it's gotten to the point that, last I recall, she's /internalized/ some of those lies and believes them herself." …Of course, we need to remember that Aline's concept of how she relates to Yanmei was forked off into an imagined timeline early enough that Ezra might even consider discrepancies.
[08:17:56] <Minaplo> ["Hmmm, that makes sense. What's this about de Pteres?"]
[08:20:47] * ‘Blanc could automatically tell her face scrunched weirdly at that. "He… I don’t even know. He has this sense of honor, but it's as much megalomaniacal as it is self-sacrificing. He speaks of philosophical and ethical quandries like they're daily occurances, he used to over-time hint he wanted to take over NERV, gets… oddly stuck on certain points, has obsessive traits to his otherwise-laudable concept of the pilots as a family…" Aline /sighed/ magnanimously. "To speak to him is a singular experience unlike anything else that usually leaves the non-Sera party irrevocably changed. Or at least confused."
[08:24:00] <Minaplo> ["Sounds like a Caine if you leave him in the sun too long."]
[08:25:53] * ‘Blanc sort of snrk-snuffled. "Trust me. I know what leaving a thing in the sun for too long is like. That isn’t it." …A single headshake. "But it /is/ very Cainelike, yes."
[08:34:11] <Minaplo> ["Speaking of which, did you happen to know Elena Clement?"]
[08:36:47] * ‘Blanc winced, having not completely realized what her joke lead to until he brought it up. "Y… es. She made me take yoga to have something to do with my time, is the firmest memory."
[08:42:16] <Minaplo> [Ezra nodded slowly. "I see…"-
[08:42:32] <Minaplo> [He stared down at his half-full wine glass.-
[08:42:35] <Minaplo> [He quickly drained it.-
[08:43:20] <Minaplo> ["Your efforts in destroying her Evangelion didn’t quite go far enough, I'm afraid. They were able to salvage the soul." Said Ezra. "Elena's now the vessel for that soul, Jeremiah Caine."]
[08:52:06] * ‘Blanc grabbed her own wineglass, trembling. "That man." It was a mystery as to how much leeway they even had to change her, how much they even /cared/ as long as she obeyed (confident in the Drive as they were). But one thing that was not erased in the slightest was Aline’s seething disgust at the very /notion/ of Jeremiah Caine. Her /full/ wineglass disappeared just as fast.
[08:53:37] <Minaplo> ["The poisoned tree from which sprunt the fruit." Said Ezra quietly.]
[08:53:40] <Minaplo> <Sprung*>
[09:01:57] <‘Blanc> "A thousand times yes, that assessment. But." Aline /frowned/. "It can be said that nobody, /to the one/, willingly serves his branch of the Caine family without either a big helping of ulterior motives, or a lack of informed decisionmaking. That’s so true that even I, who /turned to this side/, can say it."
[09:02:38] <Minaplo> ["Yeah… The other side must be pretty bad if you prefer the Synfront. How're you settling in, by the way?"]
[09:10:31] <‘Blanc> "Decently enough, but…" Aline got a conspiratorial tone. "Being cooped up as a top secret is getting pretty old."
[09:10:46] <Minaplo> ["Yeah? You wanna get out?"]
[09:11:28] * `Blanc thought. "Or at least enter something vaguely resembling ’normal operations'."
[09:16:27] <Minaplo> ["Combat?"]
[09:24:47] * ‘Blanc had a level pout. "Maybe? I suppose ’operations' was a bit loaded. I meant… normal integration with people."
[09:25:51] <Minaplo> ["Ah. Well, I've been given command of the Damocles. You're free to visit." He said. "You'll be allowed to mingle."]
[09:31:50] * ‘Blanc smiled, even if it was a smile tempered by earlier revelations about a certain Caine. "…That’d be great. I could do small field trips, too." Probably referring to her Phantoms. Then she realized a likely implication. She /was/ quite the sharp knife still. "…unless you're quite bombarded by gawking childlike superninjas as-is. I could make them /really small/ fieldtrips."
[09:39:32] <Minaplo> ["No problem. Go nuts. I'm currently trying to persuade Joan to let herself take her lot to Victoria Falls. It's like pulling teeth."]
[08:10:01] <‘Blanc> "I’m going to guess that Joan's doing some kind of vaguely-tsundere thing where she really wants her phantoms to be happy but thinks you're manipulating her and even if you convince her otherwise she's going to just doggedly hang onto it because her very self-image can't handle giving a millimeter without getting a klick and change back."
[08:18:46] <@Minaplo> ["A… Sunday thing?"]
[08:21:18] * ‘Blanc stared. Stared again. "…Ah. Not… right. It’s a Japanese slang term, from anime and manga. It's a combination of two sort of… pseudo-onomatopoeic words? 'Tsuntsun' for a sense of disgust at someone, and 'deredere' for sweetness towards someone. It's basically a word to describe that most bizarre of anime-love-interest behaviors wherein they actually secretly like someone but express it with disgust and insults and aggression because of one psychological block or another."
[08:26:49] <@Minaplo> ["I'm not sure I like where this is heading."]
[08:27:45] * ‘Blanc suddenly snorted. "Nnnnno she’s not got the hots for you. I just mean that same interplay of being /forced/ to posture negatively is similar?"
[08:30:16] <@Minaplo> ["So you're saying she wants my help, or at least the benefits my help offers, but doesn't want to really admit it."]
[08:33:20] <‘Blanc> "That’s the /impression/ I get." Aline nodded. "I mean after all, I haven't actually talked to her about it. But I have heard about how she is with her phantoms."
[08:43:23] <@Minaplo> ["She's very fond of them, yes…" Said Ezra.]
[08:45:47] * ‘Blanc at first just nodded. "So I guess the only real matter is that the mistrust, the pride, the /whatever/ that’s holding her back, needs to be overcome."
[08:55:13] <@Minaplo> ["I reckon it's hurt." Said Ezra. "Well."-
[08:56:55] <@Minaplo> ["I'm used to having people mistrust me because of my name. But I think for Joan it's more than that. Fear and hurt…"]
[08:59:18] * ‘Blanc slowly regarded him… "…Given the surrounding I wouldn’t at all be surprised. And what I said earlier and just…" A bit of a flop-sigh. "Things.
[09:09:36] <@Minaplo> ["Ah, my work's cut out for me. Trying to keep spirits up and make sad people happy in the heart of Mordor."]
[09:13:38] * ‘Blanc tilted her head a few times, before a rueful chuckle. "And me without my spiderfood."
[09:14:20] <@Minaplo> ["He’ll be coming for you."]
[09:15:02] * ‘Blanc blinked a few times, before just slowly nodding. "I so suppose."
[09:16:23] <@Minaplo> ["The moment he knows you’re alive, he'll try to tear you out of that unit with his bare hands."]
[09:19:41] * ‘Blanc got it more /clearly/ than that now. "…I know. It’s sort of awkward to think of, considering my position here, but… I don't know." She felt the strangest pang, like something was fundamentally 'wrong', yet it was subconscious enough that she just sidestepped it.
[09:24:31] <@Minaplo> ["You don't have any lingering feelings…?"]
[09:26:33] * ‘Blanc flushed red for a moment. "I was acting. …There might be something residual, sure, but…" …and she just stopped. No. Shinji was… just a game, a little child she could get closer to Yui and take more intel away, with. Or to Gendo back when he was alive. Right? Right.
[09:37:36] <@Minaplo> ["Something to grow out of, eh?"]
[09:42:52] * `Blanc looked shame-faced. "I’m already feeling manipulative enough as it is."
[09:44:28] <@Minaplo> ["Fair enough. I know how it goes."]
[09:55:20] * ‘Blanc nodded her head again. "Thank you."
[09:56:35] <@Minaplo> ["On the topic of Joan, though. I was speaking to an advisor, once who has more experience with soul crap than I do, and we’ve worked out a potential… Diagnosis, with potential solution."]
[09:58:04] * ‘Blanc was rather surprised at that bit. "A /soul diagnosis/. This is already sounding very interesting." But she honestly meant that.
[10:01:50] <@Minaplo> ["Do you know about like… The basic soul energies? Thanatos and Eros and Logos and Psyche? And their three brothers, James, Jung and Freud."]
[10:02:36] * `Blanc practically stuck her tongue out at the latter bit. "Yes, I do! I’ve even spoken to an embodiment of dissociated Eros."
[10:02:49] <@Minaplo> ["… Really?"]
[10:03:38] <‘Blanc> "…Yeah. Eva-00 is weird." Aline said, on one hand realizing this was sensitive information, but on the other hand knowing it technically counted as intel and he counted as her superior officer.
[10:04:03] <@Minaplo> ["Do you… Want to talk about it?"]
[10:05:57] * `Blanc thought about it. "As long as you remember the bit about Joan and we come back to it, sure!"
[10:06:07] <@Minaplo> ["I’ve a good memory."]
[10:07:27] <‘Blanc> "Alright!… basically it was part of a series of headtrips me and the other trinity-pilots had… Apparently each of those three contain one of them - and my /guess/ is that Sera has the last? Elishas all the way down and all that."
[10:07:44] <@Minaplo> ["Uh-huh."]
[10:10:21] * `Blanc took that sort of passive affirmative as a sign to continue. "Basically, there was this whole thing with a palace of dancers who were so hedonistic about every possible experience that it was sickeningly cloyingly sweet and they grew jaded? …And the 00-Eros, uh, entity, gave me a bit of a story about how the four soulpieces work, and that an imbalance of them usually leads to Problems - and how apparently the Ancestors didn’t pay attention to their balance and progressively grew bored, jaded, restless, and so on until they just de-incarnated and holed up in the /original/ Eternity Drive."
[10:10:56] <@Minaplo> ["Huh."]
[10:15:11] * ‘Blanc had a vaguely expectant look. "Honestly, most of the experience was… well, an experience. I’m not sure words'd give you the same feeling. There was just a fundamental wrongness combined with loads of sensuality."
[10:15:32] <@Minaplo> ["Excess."]
[10:16:25] <‘Blanc> "Yes!" Aline said. Before looking at him suspiciously. "Awfully one-word there, Mr. Caine."
[10:16:38] <@Minaplo> ["Yep."-
[10:16:48] <@Minaplo> [He cracked her a cheeky grin before downing another glass of wine.]
[10:18:38] * `Blanc /smirked/ before taking her own sip. Remembering that she needed to disabuse herself of that unease around drink. What kind of chump of a Solomon would she be if she still had her normal-human-clone-body’s weakness to a mere organic molecule?
[10:30:04] <@Minaplo> ["Well, you seem to know at least as much as I do, probably way more." Said Ezra. "But my advisor, Tokuro- an Iron Apostle- was telling me that he sensed a real excess in Joan's soul. Of Eros."]
[10:31:07] <‘Blanc> "An overload. …so basically she’s constantly feeling a burning urge to create, have, want, et cetera." Aline said, not quite realizing the more pertinent theory Tokuro had had that Ezra didn't mention /just yet/.
[10:31:58] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah. And we discussed it, and… So basically, we linked it to the fact that Joan's an E-Type." Said Ezra. "A Seed-in-waiting, right? So a powerful Eros is pretty expected."-
[10:32:59] <@Minaplo> ["Funny thing is, the E-Type Angels, including her, all seemed to exhibit… How to put it? Creative powers, ones that created life. Spawn, solar energy, that sort of thing."-
[10:33:22] <@Minaplo> ["So the theory we came up with was that the E-Type Angels were given specific escape valves to vent excess Eros off. But Joan… Well."]
[10:34:27] * ‘Blanc began to thought about that now! "…Create… a- …She was that one wasn’t she. Malchediel, Angel of Death, all that. …So she… the spawn vented it, huh."
[10:35:13] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah."-
[10:36:30] <@Minaplo> ["We don't really know if Lilim E-Types are comparable." Said Ezra. "So we don't have much to prove it theoretically. Our current attempt at helping to balance out Joan's temperament is to give her back a form of creation. Letting her Dys spawn."]
[10:40:08] <‘Blanc> "And the only one that is part of her soul, that is fami…liar…" Aline realized something. "So basically that’s also what's behind her protection of her phantoms. Mother hen to the last. …Mother /bear/ more like, but same difference?"
[10:42:27] <@Minaplo> ["That's right."]
[10:43:13] <‘Blanc> But nonetheless, Aline smiled. "With luck, if it acts as a suitable release, she might be less… frustrated all the time."
[10:48:38] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah…"-
[10:48:59] <@Minaplo> ["Presumably Lilim methods aren’t as efficient, huh?" He added with a small grin.]
[10:49:49] <‘Blanc> "Like to like. Though to wit, might be a difference of style. We can do the whole ’not using soul voodoo' thing easier because that's our entire /deal/."
[10:51:15] <@Minaplo> ["Heh, true enough!"-
[10:51:43] <@Minaplo> ["Eh, all this talk about work." He shook his head. "Let me ask you something else."]
[10:52:23] * ‘Blanc folded her arms slightly. "Work is a bit all-consuming in military jobs. But go ahead!"
[10:52:40] <@Minaplo> ["Okay, lemme paint the scene."-
[10:52:51] <@Minaplo> [He raised his hands, like a director mimicking a camera.-
[10:53:11] <@Minaplo> ["You’re home alone, you've just woken up, it's cold and rainy outside, and you have the day off. What do you do to pass the time?"]
[10:54:29] <‘Blanc> "Reading, video-games - I had quite the collection on my old laptop - and… well. Uh…" Aline looked embarrassed. "I write?"
[10:54:42] <@Minaplo> ["You write, huh?"]
[10:58:57] * `Blanc nodded. "Yeah, I write. Like… little stories… and things."
[11:02:34] <@Minaplo> ["Wanna tell me about ’em?"]
[11:03:36] * ‘Blanc was now getting a little bit… shifty. "It’s sort of embarrassing."
[11:06:43] <@Minaplo> ["Aha. I understand…"]
[11:08:25] <‘Blanc> "Sorry. …It’s, uh, common for teenagers to be embarrassed by that sort of thing anyway."
[11:09:17] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah, I know. You know what Promised Land's filled with, right?"]
[11:10:33] * ‘Blanc blinked. But then she got it. "…Oh. Right. A ton of Neo graduates and other similar things."
[11:13:08] <@Minaplo> ["Uh-huh. Young, hormonal, full of creativity…"]
[11:14:45] * `Blanc had, unbidden, a stray thought about hormonal in terms of ’and they're constantly in each others' pants'. But shelved it rather quickly. "So there's probably a full library of tortured prose stuffing the journals of Promised Land's members."
[11:17:50] <@Minaplo> ["Oh, almost certainly."-
[11:17:55] <@Minaplo> ["But… Video games, huh?"]
[11:19:29] * ‘Blanc restored some of her prior smile. "Oh yes. The industry wasn’t quite the same post-Impact, and sort of changed with most fiction at the start of the Angel War, but… I ended up being quite into it, and often participated in the 'retro gaming' scene. Anonymously of course."
[11:21:30] <@Minaplo> ["Oh really?"]
[11:26:12] <‘Blanc> "Quite! After a while enough of people re-settling… I think it started sometime in ’06 or '08? People were starting to write programs that could download games off of old carts and other media, and then distributed the resulting files for others to play in specialized programs." She tilted her head one way then the other. "While I didn't have the programming know-how, one of my hobby projects around late '15 onwards was helping people translate Japanese games that never got Western releases. I worked with a programmer from the US on it, not that I know their actual name."
[11:30:43] <@Minaplo> ["Ahh."-
[11:30:52] <@Minaplo> ["You big into… Japan, then?"]
[11:33:31] <‘Blanc> "The pop culture is interesting, even if the culture-culture isn’t quite up with my values. …That is, don't ever take me for a samurai, for example. I originally learned the language to get closer to Shinji-" Which is what you're telling yourse- No, that's correct, seriously. "-but it was still pretty useful for an unrepentant nerd like myself. And I did English translations, not French, so I could probably point your own kids to the stuff me or the other people in the community translated…"
[11:44:00] <Mianplo> ["Hmmm. What's so interesting about it?"]
[11:46:26] * ‘Blanc seemed wrongfooted somehow, but tried to explain all the same. Valiantly! "Like… There’s a certain feeling of splash and panache that often isn't bothered with in non-Japanese pop culture half the time. It happens still here, but there it's practically a respected genre convention at times. …And I just happen to prefer it."
[11:59:41] <Mianplo> ["Hmmmm. I see."]
[12:03:22] <‘Blanc> "Yeah. When you get far enough down the road of tastes, it’s hard to explain?" Aline said weakly.
[12:12:30] <Mianplo> ["No, that's fair."-
[12:13:10] <Mianplo> ["… Heh. There was a Japanese girl in Promised Land who… Heaven above, must've spent years sleeping with me and my wife. Nightmares."]
[12:15:02] <‘Blanc> "Ah. …For as much as I’ve heard your wife's pregnant, you already have a lot of that dad experience, huh."
[12:20:46] <Mianplo> ["Heh, that's right. She must've been 14 or 15 when we found her a contract…"-
[12:20:58] <Mianplo> ["Her name's Mana? Mana Kirishima. You might've heard of her."]
[12:22:36] * ‘Blanc suddenly ’plipped', showing signs of recognition. "Oh. Isn't she… I think she's with Raphael Guillory's unit in the UEF."
[12:22:54] <Mianplo> ["Yeah, she is. I hear she's happy there…"]
[00:12:52] * ‘Blanc nodded. "I imagine she probably is, yes. Internal morale is a bit easier to pull off over there."
[00:20:32] <@Minaplo> ["Mmm."-
[00:20:43] <@Minaplo> ["Do you know much about Guillory?"]
[00:21:56] * `Blanc tilted her head left and right. "…I know a few things, yeah. What’d you want to know?"
[00:29:02] <@Minaplo> ["His unit. They ride Houndbears, right?"]
[00:37:27] * ‘Blanc nodded her head. "Yeah, they do. I don’t know tons about superheavies in general - …Maybe that regular LN Thruster Solaces were /really annoying/ and that stock E-Destroyers were anything but, but… not a bunch about those no."
[00:42:45] <@Minaplo> [Ezra chuckled.-
[00:43:08] <@Minaplo> ["E-Destroyers are rather optimistically named, yes. Although the enemy's custom units seem to be doing just fine."]
[00:45:39] <‘Blanc> "That’s a big part of UEF doctrine, though." Aline observed. "Over-modded ace customs in smaller numbers." Beat. "…I swear, if I find out the Synfront has a single exhaust port that somehow causes a catastrophic reactor explosion when shot with a fusion torpedo… Because /someone/ has to make the Star Wars analogy for their and our respective hardware."
[00:49:58] <@Minaplo> ["Haha. I dare not presume to know."-
[00:52:01] <@Minaplo> ["Their tactics seem to focus on using their custom heavies to be the firepower punch for their Evangelions. Use the Eva to null any nasty tricks and follow it up with a heavy assault."]
[01:07:52] * ‘Blanc nodded her head! "And while I don’t know much about the Houndbears much, their… …Dreadnaughts, I think is their name for it - the smaller massed ones? Are inherently made for a more rugged 'bucket of guns under 5 meters of armor' approach." So she rested her arms on the table, now. "But any particulars about Guillory himself? I don't know his unit that well, honestly. Though I think he had some of the NERV-appropriated Thruster Initiative guys working with him."
[01:12:59] <@Minaplo> ["Hmm. What's he like as a person? I've spoken to him myself but he seemed guarded."]
[01:17:29] * ‘Blanc opened her mouth for a moment. "I’m not entirely perfect on that either. But he seems to be 'a morally-upright career soldier'. Laments the use of youths in these wars, very prim and proper - most of the women in his life relentlessly tease him for that - and… I think he's basically the de facto adoptive father of the Ayanamis, and was even when Gendo was alive."
[01:39:30] <@Minaplo> ["The Ayanamis, huh… Why him?"]
[01:44:49] * ‘Blanc scratched the back of her neck a little. "I think it started with some kind of chance meeting with Rei or similar, and they got on well and it just snowballed from there. …Though to wit, he generally does /not/ like either of the elder Ikaris."
[01:45:47] <@Minaplo> ["Oh really…?"]
[01:46:59] <`Blanc> "Yes! He thought of Gendo as a straight-up bastard of a man, and thinks Yui is something on the level of a delusional mad scientist at worst, and otherwise just a somewhat poor parent at best."
[01:47:24] <@Minaplo> ["What do you think?"]
[01:49:47] * `Blanc hummed lightly to try to center her thoughts. "Gendo was hard for almost no reason, but at least knew what he was doing. A purposeful bastard but a bastard all the same. Yui… I can see the weaknesses in her character, honestly, but much of what people begrudge her for is nothing that hasn’t been done or ordered by a lot of other people before and after her. I guess the possessive maternal instinct is the most obvious flaw to me?"
[02:03:55] <@Minaplo> ["Go on."]
[02:07:02] * ‘Blanc frowned. "Not entirely sure where to go on with… uh. Maybe the instinct a bit more? Or just in general…" She stopped floundering after a moment, though. "But uh. I mean, like the Ayanamis existing at all pissed off a /lot/ of people in the pilots-and-friends social sphere in a very stock ’what has science doneeeee' way. And the possessive maternal instinct bit is sort of in reference to her deciding to make the supersoldier ideal pilots all be clones of her daughter. That sort of thing."
[02:10:44] <@Minaplo> ["I see. We'll come back to Guillory, but let's discuss these Ayanamis."]
[02:14:56] * ‘Blanc once again scratched the back of her neck a bit. "…They’re pretty eccentric at times? Differing personalities - I don't even remember all of them - and differing levels of adjustment to society - well, military society - maturity, and so on. Like, Rei is a bright and happy friend-to-all-things that I think basically hating her is a quick mark that someone is either a right asshole or has something against bioexotics, or Chiisana, who doesn't want to be called Ayanami Shi because /of course she doesn't/ is a literal princess-type, that kind of thing."
[02:23:33] <@Minaplo> ["She doesn't like her name?"]
[02:25:41] * ‘Blanc paused. "…Oh. Ohhhh. Right. It’s a cultural thing, sorry. 'shi' is not only the pronounciation for Japanese's 'four'…" Aline began. "…But it's also the one for 'death'. So while normally, an all-numbers-theme to given names - which they have, they're numbered zero to eleven - would normally be inoffensive if a bit stiff… That simple homophony makes the number four in most of Asia have a serious bad-luck connotation."
[01:31:36] <@Minaplo> ["Ah. Right, makes sense. Like 'Caine', huh?"]
[01:32:21] * ‘Blanc slowly stared. "…As in homophony with the biblical Cain, or am I missing something?"
[01:36:19] <@Minaplo> ["Well that, and the fact that it’s not a very popular family right now…"]
[01:38:27] <‘Blanc> "See, I wouldn’t have thought of that kind of thing. …mostly because I was thinking of some kind of culture-myth… thing." Aline sighed once. "But no, you probably get a lot of flak for your name."
[01:40:45] <@Minaplo> ["Quite a lot, yes." Said Ezra with a wry grin.-
[01:49:17] <@Minaplo> ["I can rely on you to write me up a report of the twelve Ayanamis, right?"]
[01:50:03] <‘Blanc> "You should be able to, yes. Some I don’t know as well as others, but I remember /enough/ about even those." Aline replied primly.
[01:50:50] <@Minaplo> ["Excellent."-
[01:52:42] <@Minaplo> ["Now, back to Guillory. You remember even a little about his and his team's combat style?"]
[01:56:50] * ‘Blanc thought about that… "Guillory is a master sniper, for starters. His team… I think he has a mix of a few normal line soldiers, a medic, a melee specialist, a demolitions expert…" She thought. "Now, back when they were in the Thruster Dreadnaughts, they very much had a kind of ’massed fire with dogpiling added in' approach wherein the dreads tried to tie down an Angel for Guillory and the eva pilots. But in Houndbears they might have a more even tactic."
[02:07:28] <@Minaplo> ["Hmmm. Alright, that's useful. Do you want to add that to the report as well?"]
[02:08:49] <‘Blanc> "I see no reason not to!"
[02:25:13] <@Minaplo> ["Alright, good."-
[02:25:23] <@Minaplo> [There was a pause as Ezra worked on his food…-
[02:25:30] <@Minaplo> ["… I need you to do something for me."]
[02:25:58] * `Blanc slowly craned her head, uncertain. "…Like…?"
[02:28:40] <@Minaplo> ["The Solomon Primes are already a priority for you, right?"]
[02:30:42] * `Blanc wasn’t /quite/ following. "Like… how so. Making them work together better, I take it? It'd be nice, though I'm not sure I alone have the chops for it."
[02:33:57] <@Minaplo> ["No, I agree. And let's not say working together better, but… Being better people in general. Which ones would you find easiest to work with if that were your goal?"]
[02:34:36] * ‘Blanc gave Ezra an odd look. "…If I said Agatha, would you call me out for cheating?"
[02:34:59] <@Minaplo> ["Yes." Said Ezra with a grin. "I said which ones. You’ll have to rank 'em."]
[02:37:38] * ‘Blanc giggled a bit. "…Okay, point! In descending order of easy… Agatha, followed by… hm. I’d almost say Augustine and Sophia are tied, mostly because Sophia's aversion to a lot of things is clear if difficult while Augustine's nebulous attitude is harder to pin down but he's not by most metrics as damaged… then Joan, then Scholastica. And the competition with those last two is tight too - Joan is more /aggressive/ but she seems to have more grasp of human behavior, while Scholastica is arguably less caustic but more… uh. Completely uninvolved in human thinking."
[02:39:38] <@Minaplo> ["Yeah, that matches my own thinking."-
[02:41:05] <@Minaplo> ["Now he's a more pointed question. If it were up to them, where do you think their loyalties would lie?"]
[02:44:23] * ‘Blanc paused. "…Agatha might, for all I know, defect to the UEF or try to clean up the UN like you are. Augustine would be loyal to Sophia and possibly /nobody else/. Sophia… doesn’t quite think hard enough about these matters to quite form an allegiance that isn't the UN-Mary complex…" She was counting out on her fingers, even. "Neither Joan nor Scholastica really like being ordered around by a 'lilim' of any sort whatsoever, double for Scholly, but… hm. I'm not sure what the hell they'd actually /do/ if given both freedom and a status of remaining in their - if Sol-Prime - human bodies."
[02:55:22] <@Minaplo> ["I see…"-
[02:55:49] <@Minaplo> ["Alright. Then you have your hypothesis. Your favour for me is to, from now on, spend time with them, see if you can test that hypothesis."]
[03:02:37] * ‘Blanc slowly nodded, figuring it was something like that. "Alright, I think I can do that. If nothing else, I know a bit about social engineering and group activities, on top of regular old socializing."
[03:05:42] <@Minaplo> ["Uh-huh, I’m not too surprised. Let me or Holt-Caine know how it goes."]
[03:06:52] <‘Blanc> "Right! I’ll make sure of it." Aline softly sorta-chirped. There would, after all, be some dining to be had. Glorious food, and honestly? She felt the topic had mostly exhausted itself.

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