Aline S Despair

[18:53] <Aline> Cold comforts. That's what Aline considered all of the fancy accoutrements of the Battleship, now that she was waiting inside its… cafeteria? /Banquet Hall/? Hell if she knew the term. Or wanted to right now. The mood probably wasn't much better with everyone else. After having cleaned off the LCL and such, she had been like this. Waiting. She hadn't even changed out of her plugsuit -
[18:53] <Aline> nor did she really care to, no matter how skimpy it ended up looking.
[19:11] <Minaplo> [The 'mess hall' was remarkably clean and tidy, considering less than a day ago it had been attacked by invaders, and only a few hours ago had been in a major battle.-
[19:41] <Minaplo> [There weren't many people in the mess hall. Too many people had decided to catch up on sleep and skip a meal.-
[19:42] <Minaplo> [There were footsteps. Low and dull. Thud thud.-
[19:42] <Minaplo> ["Hey, you alone?" Asked James Riel.]
[19:44] * Aline peered up at him, looking… rather surprised. But she then surveyed the rest of the hall with vague disinterest. "Yeah, pretty much." And /how/, she ruefully considered.
[19:45] <Minaplo> [James sat down next to her, idly tapping his left hand on the table. It made a surprisingly heavy -thok thok- sound. "You uh… You ok?"]
[19:52] * Aline waved a hand, and sighed deeply. "I just executed a friend in a /creatively horrific/ way, and everyone else in my unit is under the custody of someone /very much/ uninterested in treating them fairly. And Yanmei must not be taking Isaiah's fate too well, even /if/ he somehow survived that."
[19:57] <Minaplo> ["…" James opened his mouth, then shut it. He opened it again, but shook his head and fell silent.-
[19:57] <Minaplo> ["Hey, there's a bit of good news at least."]
[19:58] * Aline sort of lolled her head to the side. "…What?" She didn't quite have the /gall/ to add anything more to the sentence.
[19:58] <Minaplo> ["It's time for debrief. The other pilots have arrived, so…" He shrugged. "At least that's something."]
[20:01] * Aline didn't brighten, but her next sigh wasn't as heavy and overwrought. "At least…" She began to stand up. "Shouldn't very well keep them late."
[20:03] <Minaplo> ["Yeah…"-
[20:04] <Minaplo> [And so they headed off, through the corridors and off to the Mission Room, which was a wide ampitheatre focused around a short boardroom desk, beneath a giant computer monitor.-
[20:08] <Minaplo> [The room was sparsely populated. Ayanamis Juuchi, Nana and Sho sat along the inner row, whilst spread out across the others were Asuka, who looked exhausted; Alexandrina, who merely looked pensive; and finally Shinji, who looked the worse of the lot. He'd replaced his plugsuit with trousers and a shirt, but the shirt hung open, revealing the thick bandages that were wrapped around his chest. Another set of bandages were wrapped around his forehead.-
[20:11] <Minaplo> [Colonel Amatore sat on the boardroom desk, arms folded. She looked up. "Ah, good. Blanc's here."-
[20:11] <Minaplo> [Shinji whipped his head around to look at her. "Aline!"]
[20:15] * Aline couldn't really hold it back - she rushed closer to Shinji and gave him about as big a hug as she could muster - which was actually a little small, though she clung to him all the same, letting it last for a few seconds before she ever pulled back. "I'm glad I got the chance to see you again." …but she soon turned to the Colonel.
[20:24] <Minaplo> [Shinji let out a mild groan as Aline clung to him, but he wrapped his arms tightly around her just the same and held her close.-
[20:28] <Minaplo> ["A lot happened tonight." Began Marianne, as though even she weren't able to parse it. "… A lot." She rubbed her face tiredly. "Overall, our mission objectives were a success. The Angelic attack on Africa was repelled."-
[20:29] <Minaplo> ["… But the cost." Marianne shook her head. "We estimate that over three hundred million are dead in Africa, and that number can easily double- most of the infrastructure of the continent has been wiped out."-
[20:33] <Minaplo> ["And there are other things." She said. "EVAs 01, 03, 04, 08 and 21 were damaged or destroyed in the battle for the Synfront by a berserking Evangelion we knew nothing about; the pilots taken into custody by Mary Caine. She accuses Zhang Yanmei of treason and a number of other offenses." Said Marianne. "Mary Caine believes that NERV is plotting against her. Even before the battle began, she tried to capture and execute Ginevre Fontaine for the same crime."-
[20:33] <Minaplo> ["Tonight… Has been a long night, but you all fought admirably."]
[20:37] * Aline murmured something indistinct… But after a long pause. "Y… yes. At least the enemy unit - and honestly… that's… what it was, is destroyed, possibly for good."
[20:44] <Minaplo> ["That's… Probably for the best." Said Marianne quietly. "As horrible a statement as that is, EVA-22 was incredibly powerful. Sensors were reading a possible Synch Ratio in the 400% range when it was jaunted away. It would've been too powerful for anything to take down."-
[20:45] <Minaplo> [There was a hushed gasp throughout the room. "400%?!" "That's twice as much as most Angels-" "She must've been in so much pain…"-
[20:46] <Minaplo> ["However," Said Marianne, cutting in, "We have to focus. We still have a threat that we cannot ignore."]
[20:51] * Aline nodded grimly. "And what the hell are we going to do about it? It's… bad enough that to some extent we're probably considered outlaws by her - and anyone who obeys her - but we have a possibly-unknown mass of enemy materiel to go after. Hmmm…" She found it hard to balance between despair and contemplation.
[20:53] <Minaplo> ["Caine is a problem, yes, but the real issue is that we're still at war with Angelkind. And the Angels aren't going to stop their attacks because we're weakened. In fact they're more likely to attack than ever, now."]
[20:55] <Aline> "… Right. And there's still one unaccounted for." Aline slowly admitted.
[20:57] <Minaplo> ["Yes. And we have no idea what it's capable of doing." Marianne sighed. "Obviously we can't leave Paris-2 undefended. Ergo I'm going to undertake a reorganization order. Langley, Ikari and Ayanami Rei will be assigned to Paris-2 permanently for now. Langley, you're promoted to First Lieutenant and named Team Leader in Zhang's absense. Blanc, you're being promoted to Second Lieutenant and will be expected to help Langley command in battle."]
[21:02] * Aline paused, somewhat dumbstruck at a number of things. The assignments, but most importantly the promotion. She hoped in these grim times, working under Asuka would not become… terrifying. "I understand."
[21:03] <Minaplo> ["H-Heh." Asuka stood up. "Don't worry. I'll be so great, you'll kick tons of ass. And I'll keep it warm for Zhang for when she gets back."-
[21:04] <Minaplo> [Shinji didn't respond in any measurable way, but he stroked Aline's hair a little. "Congratulations…"-
[21:07] <Minaplo> ["Furthermore, the Paris-2 team will be reinforced with new auxiliary units, donated to NERV by the United States. They're called the D-Titan series, and I'll let you know more about them, but overall they're roughly equal with an E-Destroyer in a fight."-
[21:14] <Minaplo> ["I don't need to inform you all that our footing right now is purely defensive. Sorties will be limited at best."]
[21:21] <Aline> "Mn." Was Aline's first response, a rather strained-sounding one at that. "That… that makes sense. Waiting for a chance." She did briefly look at Shinji, but could only bring up a little half-smile at him.
[21:24] <Minaplo> ["Alright. Any questions?"]
[21:32] * Aline let her various uncertainties and troubles filter through her mind for a moment… Before settling on just one. "Well… well, uh. I guess not a question but a statement? I'll leave a hope that soon, we'll figure out how to make this right. They're going to suffer. We're going to suffer a bit longer as well. But one way or another, the end is getting closer."
[21:37] <Minaplo> [No verbal reply to this. But there were nods. Grim nods, it had to be said.-
[21:38] <Minaplo> ["Alright. Dismissed. Go get some sleep." Said Marianne. "Blanc, I want you in my office the moment we hit Parisian airspace."]
[21:42] * Aline stood up and nodded firmly… before turning about, looking over to Shinji… somewhat longingly. Yet in a distant sense, like she wasn't as physically present as she seemed.

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